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Be surprised. Let yourself experience wonder. Open up to the unknown. See the world in a way that you have never done so before.

This is my wish for us all. For there is so much around us every day that keeps us from connecting to the beauty of our world. We are dragged down, beaten up mentally and emotionally, pushed around until we are weary with exhaustion. Another sad story on the news. Another calamity. Another atrocity. Why why why? With the balance of information in favour of the negative we may think that the whole world is a miserable place to live in. Yes in some places it definitely is challenging and collectively we are in need of some major change.

Yet amongst all the chaos, craziness and distractions is a saving grace - wonder.  

My antidote for the challenges of today’s world is to step out in wonder.  Wonder is available to us anywhere at anytime.  Wonder is to actually stop and contemplate the world within which we ALL live. When I can choose to (which I do more and more each day), I see everything through the eyes of wonder. This fills me with awe, inspiration and appreciation.

Wonder can seem to start by being about a thing. Yet real wonder transcends the physical to our very existence and presence.

Take for example a tree. You can sit in front of a tree. You can see the physical form, identify the species, measure age and even confirm a season from the state of the foliage.  This gives us the knowledge and we feel like we know what we need to about the tree. Yet in this interaction we really do not truly notice the tree.

Now some of you more enlightened ones out there might say you connect with trees. Yet do you really wonder about a tree?  

When I talk about wonder I mean stepping back and seeing what you see in all its beauty- warts and all. Wonder is to see what is in front of you as an amazing creation and as a complicated intricate part of existence on Earth.  This tree for example is unique. It might be of a common species yet this tree’s life is equally as unique as yours. How many people have walked by it? If the tree could talk what would it say? Over the years how has this one particular tree handled change?

But then even beyond this curiosity is something more. There is a place within us that is filled with awe and appreciation, no evaluation, judgement nor critique. We simply see what is in front of us as  beautiful and amazing in its own right.

So can you imagine this with a tree? A rock? Anything in nature?  Usually we can. For most of us when we connect with nature we are amazed at the innate design and intelligence of the creation.

Now let me take you to another whole level with wonder.  This may be challenging to some yet for inspiration to take hold we often need to step out of our comfort zones.  Are you ready?

What happens when you look at another human being? How can you be in wonder with another person?  What is it like to step back, cast aside the personality, the interpersonal dynamics, the superficial characteristics? What is it like to look at another human being, any human being, with wonder?

How does this feel?

What comes up for you?

What is comfortable? not comfortable?

You see I don’t have the answers. I don’t think any us do on this front.  What I do know is that the challenge of asking these questions is worth it.  For when we step out of our judgement and fear of not knowing another person, another culture, another way we invite connection, learning and growth. We expand in our awareness. We expand in our understanding.  A journey emerges where the reward is a better world for both ourselves and others.

This is ultimately my wish for wonder.  Expand the way we connect with others.

So wonder. Stand in wonder of your fellow human beings and watch what happens.  

And if you aren’t ready yet for people then practice on some trees.

Jenn Shallvey