I am a woman seeking moments of wonder. Are you seeking them too? Moments of sheer brilliance…moments that take our breath away? They are indeed here in the present, and I want to experience them every day. Amazement is soul food, and I know that if I can remain aware and in a conscious state of “seeking”, I will experience wondrous moments without even trying.
What am I talking about? In order to experience the power of awe, we need to open ourselves. We must proactively search for and recognize beauty. We have to really hunt for it. These days, there are so few moments that truly move us and we sadly live in a world where many of us feel like we have seen it all, and been there, done that. Nothing surprises us anymore. We have lost sight of wonder and appreciation. Through abundant and instant access to photos, videos, and information online, or quite frankly, just in our regular lives and travels, we tend to gloss over and not really digest what should be “wow” moments. In order to experience a moment of wonder, it is necessary to recognize this negative attitude inside ourselves. What I want is two-fold. I want to feel moments of wonder within myself, and be moved by something that is outside myself. Savoring both will create an enlightened way of feeling and loving my life, and the world that surrounds me. I want inspiration, amazement, awe, and wonder, and I want it every day.
Yoga has taught me to seek moments of wonder within. When I am on the mat, and “with myself” so to speak, I often find the ever-elusive clarity, and the sense of purpose I so often seek. During the postures and breathing techniques, I find myself centered, powerfully aware and wholly aligned with my true inner values. Setting an intention during my practice helps me unlock my power (my wonder) within. It indeed brings a consciousness to what I need and want in life. Discerning what I want from what I need, in those moments of clarity are what I carry around with me throughout my day. It is often said that you do not “find” yoga, rather, yoga “finds” you. My yoga found me, and she is now the friend who keeps me from losing sight. Continuing to see past the mundane of existence is what I am after.
One of the little things we can do when looking to experience moments of awe “on the outside”, is to have less information going in. Have you ever heard a person say, “I was so excited to go, but when I got there I was so disappointed!” We need to move toward having experiences with no expectations whatsoever. For example, if there’s a restaurant you would like to try, maybe it’s a good idea to just go, instead of looking it up on the internet, perusing the menu, and clicking through the gallery of photos that the website provides. Maybe it’s a good idea to not worry about it, or want to know anything ahead of time. This creates the element of surprise that is needed to experience a true moment of wonder or delight. Of course it could very well be disappointing, but at least your opinion was formed from your own experience, instead of the reviews of others. Going out to a new restaurant is a very poor example, but I think you get what I’m trying to say. In the age of information, as convenient and easy as it is to obtain it, less is usually better. It’s more than okay to not know that much ahead of time, and make up your own mind, without other opinions clouding your judgement.
Seeking the awe within yourself, others, and the places and things that surround you is the essence of being alive and well on this fruitful and mysterious planet. Energetically chasing what inspires you, and pursuing new interests should be satisfying – if only to satisfy your curiosity. Here’s another example: If you think you like to garden, then plant one. Learn as you go, read some books about it, and then go visit some farms and nurseries to really talk to knowledgeable people who are doing the work. Also, explore what it is about gardening itself that is so rewarding. Do you like to simply watch things grow? Is it about having control, having your hand in it, or is it about the wonder of creation? Is it about the incredible potential of a tiny seed? That, just that, is wondrous, and maybe that is why you like it so much.
If you like to run, then run a race. Maybe even run a race you have no business running. The moment of inspiration will come when you cross the finish line. Help a stranger. Pay something forward. The moment of wonder may come in knowing that your kindness made a small difference. Don’t underestimate kindness, and the wondrous moments that simply being kind can create. Many tiny drops of water dripped into a bucket will fill the bucket.
Hold a helpless, newborn baby – a living, breathing human who was a mere mass of splitting cells just months before. Hike and camp and explore. Climb to the summit of a mountain, and wonder at the view – how truly small you are compared to everything else in the world. Speaking of small, look there too. Study bees. Watch ants create homes. Watch a little, busy bird build a nest. It’s not about understanding, it’s about looking. Visit a children’s hospital and witness true bravery and human connection – not only of the little patients themselves, but the caregivers too. Seek something larger than yourself to help you gain perspective. Gaze at the stars. Moments of wonder can be as close as your own back yard or as far away as the Pyramids in Egypt. It is amazing how moments you do not understand and can not possibly digest will inevitably lead to clarity. If you have stood barefoot on a beach before a vast and wondrous ocean, watching and listening to waves that have crashed those very shores for millions of years, and you recognize it as more than just a “pretty beach” you have experienced a moment of wonder. Moments of wonder are indeed just simple moments of beauty, of discovery, and of sheer perfection. When you experience “awe” you are actually living within the moment and your perspective is at its best. Moments that puzzle you, take your breath away, or warm your soul are moments of clarity actualized.
I think we can create moments of wonder the same way that we, ourselves, can consciously cultivate happiness through gratefulness. If you are aware of seeing things as they truly are, vast and mysterious, you can open yourself to becoming fascinated, inspired, and somehow moved. Being moved is what changes us. And it somehow creates unconditional love within us. When you see clearly in the moment, the wonder and the power of life is revealed. You can channel these feelings of amazement and appreciation through art, music, nature, creativity, reading, cooking, exploring, physical fitness, traveling, studying, learning, and simply being open to the idea that you do not need to understand everything. Moments of wonder exist everywhere. Open your senses to let them in. In seeking moments of wonder, we are indeed seeking ourselves, and the best parts of being alive.
Remember that you, as you, on this planet – struggling, surfacing, learning, and heading toward your own divinity, are in and of yourself, a moment of wonder. You are more than a moment. The quiet “wow” within ourselves and the life changing moments of awe outside of ourselves can make us all steadfast seekers. Knowing that there are moments of wonder all around makes for a happy and blessed perspective. It helps us love ourselves and our own wondrous potential. And that is, quite simply, the gift of life itself.