Monday, March 08, 2004

Small Wonder

We're getting our first feel of spring. It's only the first of March here in Northern Michigan so we're defining “spring weather” as the occasional 40+ degrees at midday. That's enough. Long underwear is no long a daily routine. I'm not even bothering to put my coat on to run to the mailbox. One of the purely delightful things I find about this time of year is that the same temperatures we had back in November felt so much colder. Now, in March, 40 degrees is a heat wave! The other thing I love about this time of year is there is still way too much snow on the ground for me to feel the pressures of yard work, window washing and the usual spring chores. So it's spring without the work. Now when I take a breath of fresh air, I can smell it too. All this fills me with wonder.

~To think or speculate curiously
~To be filled with admiration, amazement or awe; marvel
~A cause of surprise, astonishment or admiration
~A feeling of surprised or puzzled interest, sometimes tinged with admiration.

So what is it about wonder that is so remarkable and valuable? I think when you are experiencing wonder, several things happen.
1. You are more receptive and open
2. You are more likely to see and feel the possibilities
3. Wonder jumpstarts your creativity
4. And in a state of wonder, you are very, very attractive

There are many places and things that awaken that feeling of wonder in everyone who has the chance to experience them. But we can't go to the Grand Canyon, Egypt's Pyramids, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Machu Picchu, the Great Barrier Reef, or Victoria Falls every day. So how do you add a little wonder to each day? Well, what amazes you when you take the time to really notice it? Just like my elation at smelling the air for the first time in three months, there are little wonders in our daily lives. An intentional and focused noticing of these small wonders can make the difference between a ho-hum day and one that is full of creativity, amusement and possibilities.  

It's noticing that is key. Many of these small wonders are things we see every single day. We don't experience the wonder however until we take the time to notice. It does not take long. Pick anything common in your environment that calls to you. Then focus your gaze and thoughts on that one thing for just a few short minutes. It's a new way of noticing your child, a friend, the spring flowers, the winter icicles, a bird at the feeder, a deer, a lake, the fog, the rain, the sunshine, a patch of grass, or even your pet. Just take two or three minutes to remain focused enough to experience the wonder in one simple thing. Then get on with your day. Do that 10 times a day and you've spent only 20 to 30 minutes each day calming yourself, shifting your attitude, and becoming more receptive, attractive and creative. Notice how much more alive you feel. Imagine, 30 minutes each day in awe. Now that it itself is a small wonder with big rewards.