This morning, I read “Wonderology: The Pursuit of Wonder,” by Emily Morgan, on my favorite blog: This Incandescent Life. (It is the third post in a series about wonder that starts with “The Purpose of Wonder.”)
At the end of the post, Morgan asks: “What fears did you have to overcome in order to pursue wonder?”
I’m not so sure it is fear that interferes with my pursuit of wonder, but pettiness, the niggling details of day-to-day living. To encounter wonder, I need to look up, look beyond myself, let go of the battle of “this needs to be done, and this needs to be done, and…”
The Creative Self
Later today (Did I mention that I’ve been sick for the last five days?), I read a post on Psychology Today, “The Creative Self,” by Hara Estroff Marano. In it, Marano includes tips for nurturing and developing creativity. They include such ideas as:
- “Searching for Beauty:” Marano says beauty “seizes” our “attention,” and engages the “intensity of” our “feelings.” Morgan also shares her thoughts on beauty in this post.
- “Communicating: …Creativity fundamentally involves expressive power”
- “Finding poetry in the everyday:” by developing “the power to see the ordinary as poetic.”
Flint & Steel
When I read The Creative Self in reference to Wonderology…, I realized not only do I need to permit myself to experience wonder, but I need to be open and observant enough to find it in my daily life.
Now, the other side of my brain takes over and says, “We need a plan.”
A Plan for Wonder? Yes
Oh, drat! How am I supposed to tether wonder to anything as mundane and restrictive as a plan?
Yet, if I don’t plan to “look up” routinely, how will I make a practice of seeing wonder in an average day?
When Marano said to “Find the poetry in the everyday…” Did she mean we need to write a poem every day?
No, of course not. However, I recall at one point last summer I had decided I needed to start a gratitude journal when the new school year started. Why? To keep me from sinking under the weight of routine and the dark of winter. I even selected a journal,…but I never did it.
Okay. So maybe this is a wake up call. Shall I start that journal and give it some guidelines?
“Yes, Miss Debby.” The always agreeable pupils who exist only in my mind nod their heads. “We cannot do our assignment unless you provide us some criteria.”
In addition, “The Creative Self” also stated that “limits yield intensity,” and went on to explain that “unrestrained freedom is a myth, and it’s not productive.”
How might I limit myself? For starters, I’ll write three responses per day. That seems do-able (and there’s always that fairytale magic about threes).
Three responses to what?
What matters to me? God, family, friends, my novels, reading, writing, the beauty of people and the natural world… I could go on, but I’m ready to move on.
How shall I craft these loves into creative guidelines for my gratitude journal?
I will call it my Day Book. In it, I will record (at least 5 times per week?) 3 things I am grateful for.
- One entry must document how I see God working in the world, my family, or my life
- One entry must celebrate the loved ones who bless my life
- And the final entry must reflect the wonder that I believe is daily before me if I’d just lift up my head and open my eyes.
For instance, today:
- I am grateful for the way God uses times of illness to reset my thinking.
- I am grateful that my husband is going out of his way to turn in my Samaritan’s Purse Christmas shoebox for me because I’m sick and it’s due today.
- I am grateful for the golden glow of early sunlight I experienced when I woke up at 7:something; before I fell back asleep for another glorious four hours.
Can I do this on a 5 day/week basis? We do gratitude leaves on the windows at school five days per week. Yes, I think 5 is a worthy goal, but I pledge not to beat myself up if I fall under.
Accountability? In my journal I wrote, “I think I’ll blog this.” Now I have. In January, after we have passed beyond the darkest days of the year, I will report. (I even logged it into my planner!)
How About You?
Anyone want to join me in a commitment to pursue wonder?
How might your criteria differ from mine?
I’d love to see your ideas. Just respond in the comment box!
Crazy, I know, but I just had to add one, little modification: While I only need to select three items a day, I want to add just one more category to select from–Little Things. For example, hot,running water. The kinds of things we take for granted unless we think about them.
Yes, that’s better. Have a great day!