by Christine Sine
This has been a hard week for me, probably the hardest since the pandemic began. The air quality in Seattle has been at hazardous levels much of the week, and though it is now only “poor” it is still enough for those of us who are sensitive to smoke, to feel the effects. Of course, others have had it much worse and I grieve with my friends in California and Oregon, many of whom have not only had to deal with the hazardous air but have also had to evacuate their homes. Some have lost their homes in the rapidly moving wildfires.
One interesting comment from a participant in the Wonder in the Trauma Healing Process webinar last Wednesday was recognizing the link between lament and wonder. Shortly after the session, I received an email from a participant commenting that Rabbi Abraham Heschel, one of the 20th century’s leading Jewish theologians and one of my heroes, emphasizes the need to begin and remain anchored in wonder in order to deal with the pain in the world. So, he felt I “was in very strong company”. Anchoring ourselves in wonder really does help us cope with the trauma of our world and that has certainly been my experience this week.
Wonder Changes Our Perspective on Life.
Wonder changes our perspective on life. It opens us to surprise, anticipation, unpredictability, celebration and mystery, replacing the rigidity of fear and anxiety with flexibility and joy. It enables us to imagine new life, new opportunities and the possibility of new beginnings definitely something that we all need to do at the present time. I think that one of the great benefits of wonder is that it helps us to look not at the pain but through the pain to God’s comforting and strengthening presence. It enables us to hold onto hope when everything around us seems hopeless.
Over the last six months, I have become an increasingly strong advocate for the power of wonder as a healing tool. Initially it was my awe and wonder walks – wandering the neighborhood with the wide-eyed wonder of a child- that has provided my greatest wonder inducing practice, but in the last few weeks, and especially this week as the air quality plummeted, I have found myself stretching for something more. The creation and use of my beach combing garden has enabled me to both delight and grieve. It has been one tool that has been a constant support for me. This week it has been my circling exercise that has provided my greatest stability. Each morning, I light my candles and feel the embracing presence of God around me, and then imagine it extending out to friends and neighbours, to strangers near and far, and radiating out to the whole world. Knowing that God embraces all creation is both awe inspiring and strengthening.
What I realize is that all of these are expressions of an embodied faith – not just praying with words but with our whole body and our actions as well. Incorporating our senses and our actions into our spiritual practices is awe inspiring. It helps us reach for the wholeness hidden deep within and brings us to a place of healing.
What Is Your Response?
Sit for a few minutes with your eyes closed and consider where you have found strength and stability this week. What has enabled you to maintain flexibility and resilience in the midst of our increasingly traumatic world? What new creative practices could help you not only connect to the wonder of God’s world, but also help you find healing and stability in the process?
Not Too Late to Join Us.
Wednesday, we will hold another Wonder in the Trauma Healing Process webinar. I hope that you can join us.