Sitting in the Marriott in Shelton, CT this morning getting ready to go to a Bar Mitzvah. There are no words to describe how much I hate these things.
I just opened my Reverb10 prompt and the question is: How did I cultivate a sense of wonder in my life this year? And you know what? I don’t think I did.
I don’t really know what it means to cultivate a sense of wonder. I didn’t have to “cultivate” wonder standing in Yosemite. Wonder (and awe) just arose. I am even wondering if wonder is something “cultivatable.” Does it mean to deliberately try and put myself in mind-states or geographical locations that have the potential to elicit wonder?
Here it is from the dictionary: Wonder– the feeling aroused by something strange and surprising.
Okay. That helps. So did I deliberately put myself in the position (or positions) to experience something strange and/or surprising this year?
Hmmm… Not really.
The thing I imagine people writing about in this regard is maybe taking time to gaze at the stars, or contemplate the vastness of the ocean. I did that. I got up early and took myself down to the beach to watch the sun rise. But I just did it on vacation, so does that count?
You know, it will have to, because other than that, I did not actively do anything that put me in a position to experience something strange or surprising.
Unless…. Unless what it’s asking is do I ever consciously approach my life not knowing what will happen. That is a hard thing for me to do, and it might be something I need to work on this year.
For example, today. I am going to this event KNOWING what is going to happen. I have played the whole thing out from air kisses to Havnah Nigilah. I know exactly how things are going to roll. But what if I went into this thing not knowing? Can I forget everything that has ever happened in the past and go into this as an amnesiac? I would have to pretend I have never been to a Bar Mitzvah before, have never met these people before, have never sat at a round table with a bunch of strangers making mindless small talk before.
I don’t think I can do it, but what if I tried? But do I even want to try? Or do I want to just plug into auto-pilot mode and robot the whole thing out? I don’t know… I could try, I guess. See what would happen.
To be in a state of wonder means to not know. It’s to be like a baby. It’s to be curious and open. I think as I age, this becomes a Herculean feat. But what if I could do it more often, cultivate wonder? I wonder what would change? I would have to forget a lot. Can a person really forget? Is it just ridiculous to think so? And do I want to?
I am very attached to my experience(s). I am very attached to my past–not all of it of course, but I would like to write a new story. Maybe that’s the way I have to think of it. Not that I have to forget, but that I want to write a new story, and in order to do that I have to scrap the old one.
What that would entail is to recognize when I am running the old story and just stop. Consciously say to myself: That is the old story. Now you have the opportunity of changing it up. You don’t have to recoil at Joan’s air kisses; you don’t have to put on your fake smile. You could just walk through the whole day looking for opportunities to write a new story.
It’s later now. I am home, and I am sad to report that I was unable to pull it off. I ran the same story and everyone played their part perfectly. It was predictable and …craptastic.