Discover more from Ordinary Magic
An Inner Sense of Wonder
and the gifts it brings us
Transcript: In his book, One Drum, Richard Wagamese, wrote about the gift of Wonder - this gift of wondering at the mystery of the invisible energy of the universe, a sense of awe at the world and our own aliveness. There's this yearning within all of us. Children are born with it. This call to explore and marvel at our own existence at the world around us.
Richard writes, “we all carry those embers. No matter what life throws at us, no matter the pain and suffering and abuse, we may have endured that tiny flame flickers in the deepest chamber of our being. It is sacred and it is eternal. When we allow a sense of wonder to inhabit us, something magical and universal happens within us. We feel. Something of the spirit flickers to life in us, and we feel spiritual with that elevated spiritual feeling, we begin to believe we can transcend our difficulties and old pain. We can.”
I really love how Richard puts that because I don't know that it's possible to get through our pain and difficulty without that, a spiritual feeling, without something that feels bigger than us holding us. It's an inner sense of wonder that keeps us connected to the ultimate eternal energy of the mystery of the universe.
And I think that cultivating this sense of wonder is really important for our wellbeing. You know, children are born with wonder. They open their eyes, they take their first breaths, and they start to soak in the world around them with awe and delight and curiosity. Somewhere along the line I think we forget about this inner wonder. We tuck the awe and yearning aside for the material world. We get lost in the rat race. Sometimes wonder catches us anyway, pulls us out of our own busyness and into the present. The moment of awe at the color shifting sky on a summer night grabs us and wakes us up.
So how do we cultivate this sense of wonder and keep the spiritual alive in our lives? I think that slow living and creativity have a role here. If we slow down enough we can see beauty. If we are moving slow enough to see the red winged blackbird sitting on the fence post on the side of the highway. We are able to see the sun rising. The leaves stirring in the breeze. The snowflakes landing on the window panes.
And as we see these beautiful things, it stirs wonder in our hearts. And then if we sit down and we write a poem or an entry in our journal, or draw a picture, do some painting, plant flowers in the garden. These creative experiences give us a tangible, physical act in the vein of a ceremony or ritual that invites us into the now and helps us capture, express this inner sense of wonder.
It helps us express our awe and joy at what we experience. And the physical act of creating something grounds us in the present moment, I think, and helps cultivate that sense of wonder. You know if you ever watch a child outside, Getting lost in what they're doing. You can see how the physical act of creating or doing something in the moment really keeps that sense of wonder centered.
I think of a time I watched my son collecting leaves in the autumn off the ground, just walking along the path ahead of me. He thought the colors were so beautiful and he would just stop here and there, pick up a leaf and add it to his collection. And then when we stopped at the park to have a snack and take a rest, he took all his leaves and he started trying to connect them to each other to make a leaf crown. And I think that it is these little simple, slow moments that help children and adults center into that feeling of wonder and keep it. Keep it stoked, like a little fire.
And as Richard wrote in his book that sense of wonder that little fire within us helps us transcend the pain and difficulty of our human experience. Because while it is full of wonder and awe and joy, it is also full of pain and sorrow and art makes medicine of our life. We create our own art, and then we wonder at the beauty present in our own lives and we keep that spiritual sense of wonder that connects us to everything alive.
I believe that that is what helps us make it through the things that knock us down.