Freerange Friday: Permission to Practice Wonder

by Lilly Lewin

By Lilly Lewin

We all need the space and time for wonder. The motto at St. Cecelia School here in Nashville is “Wonder leads to knowing.” I think this means knowing ourselves and God better! Christine Sine is challenging us all to experience more awe and wonder in our lives.

Maybe you need a wonder vacation, or a wonder holiday. A designated time away from things so that you can give yourself permission to experience wonder in a way that feeds your soul. In order to experience wonder, I think we have to plan for it.  Then after we make a plan, we have to actually take the time to practice receiving the gift of wonder.
It’s not always easy to do. It’s a real gift that we can give to ourselves and one another…the gift of time and space to experience wonder. Even for an hour!

Life gets so busy that if we don’t plan to pay attention, we will miss all the beauty that surrounds us. We will miss the smile on a baby’s face, or the funny things that the dog does while he’s sleeping. We won’t see the simple beauty of a wildflower by the road when walking the dog. Or we will miss the billowing clouds and not feel or see the breeze blowing in the newly leaved trees.

We all need help to experience wonder.
We need help and permission to remove the things that block us from experiencing awe and wonder and beauty.
What things block you from experiencing awe and wonder?

For me: politics, busyness, worry, fear, too much work, anger, anxiety about the future, poor health or fear of poor health, the dreaded phone!

What’s on your list?
What things block you from experiencing awe and wonder?
What things prevent you from noticing the beauty around you?

During Lent I needed to stop listening to TV news so that I could experience more peace in my life and less craziness. I’ve continued this practice post Easter and have cut down my NPR( National Public Radio) habit so I can stay sane. And cutting out the daily grind of political news has sure helped me have more space for WONDER!

After figuring out what things block you from wonder, now it’s time to consider what experiencing wonder looks like for you. What does WONDER look like to you? Where and how do you experience WONDER?

Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with ,or are you alone?
Are you  going outside in nature?

Is Wonder going to a bookstore on your own without kids or distractions?
Is it riding your bike or taking a walk or a run?
Is it creating something or watching someone else create something beautiful?
Is it visiting a place of beauty? Is it going to a museum?

Make a list of what wonder looks like for you.

I made a trip to the northwest to get my cup filled up at the end of April. I needed to be around creative, encouraging people. I needed to see water and mountains. And I made a special effort to see the end of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival because I knew that the beauty and wonder of the flowers would feed my soul.

What would a Wonder Trip look like for you?

You might not have the space for an entire Wonder trip or weekend, but author Julia Cameron in The Artist Way, has us take ourselves on an artist date. She defines an Artist Date as:
The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly “artistic”– think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration.

I took myself to our local art museum last Saturday, even though I knew it would be crowded and even though I had lots to do around the house. I knew I needed a bit of wonder in my soul and I knew that Monet would provide that!

Where would you go on an Artist Date with yourself? What would that involve? What WONDER would this bring you? Plan it! Give yourself permission to do it! In order to experience wonder we need to plan it and give ourselves permission to practice and experience it! I’d love to hear more about what you plan!
“Every person needs to take one day away. A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future. Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence. Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”
― Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now

“We need to find God, and God cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature– trees and flowers and grass– grow in silence. See the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence. The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life.” Mother Teresa

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1 comment

Corrine Lund May 26, 2019 - 4:03 am

I just experienced a significant wonder on a visit to Yellowstone National Park…certainly not an everyday experience but it was quite a wonder. The BIG things in the park were amazing but often it was a ‘Little’ thing that caused the most wonder…not the bear but the ground squirel with its comical antics or the tiny spring flowers…or wondering if each snow flake is really unique.
So much ‘wonder’ everywhere.
Thanks for sharing.

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