If you’re anything like me, the list goes along these lines:
- Why is my computer displaying that “fatal error” message?
- Where the heck did those extra cell phone charges come from?
- What should I pick up for tonight’s dinner?
- How soon, exactly, will the world arrive at hell in a hand basket?
These are all very worthy concerns. I am an expert worrier. Just ask my children. However, each time I board a plane I am reminded that, in the event of an emergency, I need to put my oxygen mask on first. In other words, I can’t help anyone else if I’m not functional. I discovered this a few years ago during a time of major stress and sadness.
Taking a small “wonder break” can be the most instantly relaxing and restorative thing you can do for yourself in five minutes or less.
Just some of the many things I like to wonder about:
- What do birds think about?
- Where do they go at night?
- Does the rain bother the crows?
- How come moss grows everywhere?
- What, exactly, is lichen?
- Why is rust so beautiful sometimes?
I think we all followed such thought paths as children, but somewhere along the way, musing-time gets left behind. Mental meandering is frequently written off as daydreaming, a waste of time. But those tiny moments can be the start of bigger things.
Once you start, the wondering can take off in a couple of directions.
Path one: I wonder … (lower case ‘w’)
Once you start noticing birds, moss, plants, animals or old rusty signs, you may find yourself driven to find out more. You can talk to people who know more than you, read books or magazine articles, watch documentaries, do some online research. There might be just one question you’d like to find the answer to, or you can end up with a lifelong passion on your hands.
Path Two: Wonder (with a capital ‘W’)
This world is not perfect. Let’s face it, it’s far, far from perfect and we shouldn’t ever forget that or stop working to make it better.
But, there are those moments when you step outside of the door and notice some little, inconsequential thing and everything seems to stop just for a moment. Sometimes you say to yourself (or even out loud) “wow”.
Just for a moment we can live in pure wonder. It’s just a moment, but that feeling rides along with us as we rejoin the daily battle — whether it’s sorting out the cell phone bill, or saving the world.