Rediscovering A Sense of Wonder and Awe
On a recent walk in the forest with Brian, we discussed all the plans and things happening in the month of June. Flaming June, as I sometimes refer to this busy time of year. We often use our walks to plan, organize, and dream. Today it was all business, calendars, travel, graduation, a move, etc. Suddenly, we both stopped and noticed a deer standing still in the early morning light. Our minds and conversation went from task-oriented planning to quiet fascination and subtle amazement. I was reminded of the importance of this state of wonder and that it’s not something happening in the mind. In fact, the mind goes suddenly still, but it's more of a felt sense in the body. Ahhhh, I felt the quiet relief in my mind, ease in my body, and even a sense of gratitude.
This sense of wonder as a feeling in the body, is a sense of amazement, before the mind tries to create a label for it, or a conversation about it. It’s why many of us seek new experiences, love traveling to new places, looking at art, listening to different types of music or seeing something expansive in nature like a sky full of stars or an expansive ocean. We can even be in awe of the body and the heart’s ability to heal from injury, pain and grief. There is a natural peace of mind in this state of wonder.
In a world saturated with information, where our attention is constantly pulled in multiple directions, it's easy to become desensitized to the wonders that surround us. With immediacy and convenience overshadowing reflection and contemplation, we risk losing touch with the sense of wonder that lies within us. The constant bombardment of information and distractions can dull our senses, numbing us to the magic that surrounds us. However, it is exactly in these moments of disconnection that we should strive to reawaken our sense of awe.
We all have within us this profound capacity for a sense of wonder that can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. What moments of “awe” can you build into your day? Here are some ideas I had recently:
Wake up early and watch the sunrise
Do something physically challenging, beyond your comfort zone and be amazed by your body’s resilience
Go to a Beyonce concert or a women’s march
Put your headphones on and listen to this: Vivaldi - The Four Seasons; recomposed by Max Richter
Watch a 6 month old discover her toes and her voice
Roll out your yoga mat, be curious and in wonder about the variety of sensations in the body, constantly changing.
Be in awe of injury turning into healing. Tension turning into relaxation. Stress turning into ease.
And, of course, shameless marketing plug: My Women’s Yoga and Mindfulness Retreat has two places left. It will be the opportunity to use the practice of awe and wonder, to quiet the thinking mind. If you can’t make this one, please schedule time for yourself at my retreat in October.
I hope you find many small wonders in your day today.