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.

One thought on “Reverb10–Wonder

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