1 (a): a cause of astonishment or admiration: marvel; (b): miracle
2: the quality of exciting amazed admiration
3 (a): rapt attention or astonishment at something awesomely mysterious or new to one’s experience; (b): a feeling of doubt or uncertainty
Wonder (n.): Old English wundor “marveling thing, miracle, object of astonishment,” from Proto-Germanic wundran, of unknown origin. In Middle English it also came to mean the emotion associated with such a sight (late 13th century). To be no wonder was in Old English. The original wonder drug (1939) was Sulfanilamide.
“Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.”
Franz Kafka (1883-1924, born to a prosperous middle-class Jewish family in Prague, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary, now the Czech Republic; German-language writer of visionary fiction whose novels expressed the anxieties and alienation of the 20th-century man; best known for “The Trail,” “The Castle,” and “Metamorphosis.”)
“The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.”
Albert Einstein (1879-1955, German-born theoretical physicist, who developed the general theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics, and whose work influenced the philosophy of science)
“Kids think with their brains cracked wide open; becoming an adult, I've decided, is only a slow sewing shut.”
Jodi Picoult (b. 1966, award-wining American author of 23 novels, 8 of which debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list)
“Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.”
Betty Smith (1896-1972, American author, best known for her first novel, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” which was the bases for her growing up poor as a German immigrant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn)
“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832, German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman, theatre director, critic, and amateur artist, considered the greatest German literary figure of the modern era)
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”
William Blake (1757-1827, 19th century writer and artist who is regarded as a seminal figure of the Romantic Age and who has been deemed both a major poet and an original thinker)
“I think us here to wonder, myself. To wonder. To ask. And that in wondering bout the big things and asking bout the big things, you learn about the little ones, almost by accident. But you never know nothing more about the big things than you start out with. The more I wonder, the more I love.”
Alice Walker (b. 1944, American novelist, short story writer, poet, and activist; wrote the critically acclaimed novel, “The Color Purple,” for which she won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)
“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
How do we retain our childlike innocence and wonder for the world, and at the same time build discernment? This is definitely one of life’s paradoxes, to see beauty through the eyes of a child and simultaneously act in wisdom.
One of my favorite bible verses helps in this regard when Jesus advises his disciples: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)
A daily morning ritual of devotion can cultivate a vital relationship to our Inner Witness and Inner Being. Building a practice of some form of meditation, whether it is mindful meditation, contemplation, prayer, conscious breathing, walking, running, yoga, chi gong or tai chi, can place us in a sacred space of knowing and listening not only to our Divine Inner Voice, but to also those angelic voices that guard and protect us.
When we create devotional practice we are restructuring our minds, bodies, and spirits towards a deeper state of peace, where we can anticipate when there’s a dynamic shift of energy and of consequences, no matter how big or small. We also developing our abilities to think before we take action instead of reacting with charged and addictive emotions.
When I was a young woman in my late twenties/early thirties I often took the subway train home from work. One night, when the train was not crowded I was fortunate to get a seat where I could relax a bit. But, when the person sitting next to me got up for their stop, a very large disturbed man made a B-line for me and that unoccupied spot. Before he could sit down on top of me and thus harass me, I shot up and moved effortlessly around him, and stood at the exit doors until my stop.
The whole incident felt like it happened in a blink of an eye. I was so intentional and very calm. Looking back I could see that mentally-ill man scowling at me, upset that he completely missed his opportunity. As I stood waiting, a young man in his early 30s stood across from me, looked at the man, then back me, and smiled. I then knew that that young man was an undercover police officer.
How did I know what to do when I did it? Part of it was from my life experiences, but part of it was staying fully present, listening, and knowing that events were about change.
Sojourners, don’t get bogged down with the noise and busyness of our world. Work to focus on the wonder and beauty. Life will always take great care of you.
Written with Love, Tonya