Awe And Wonder

An article by on November 17, 2017

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Google+
https://eirenicole.com/awe-and-wonder">
Twitter
LINKEDIN
INSTAGRAM

The art of observation: Awe and Wonder.  At the dinner table last night, my son told us about popping a piece of candy into his mouth earlier that day and being surprised by the flavor. It was a candy he has had before, and mindlessly eaten. Yesterday, though, he noticed the distinct flavor and how pleasing it was, enjoying the taste of it. He said, “I was thinking that was a mindfulness thing, right, mom?” the awe and wonder I experienced in that moment really cannot be described. The writer, Marguerite Duras observes,“The art of seeing has to be learned.”

“(“Attention is an intentional, unapologetic discriminator,” [the cognitive scientist, Alexandra] Horowitz tells us. “It asks what is relevant right now, and gears us up to notice only that.”) But while this might make us more efficient in our goal-oriented day-to-day, it also makes us inhabit a largely unlived — and unremembered — life, day in and day out.” Now, this is very different from the easily distracted inability to stay focused on a task or conversation. Oh, look! Squirrel! What were you saying?

My now 17-year old son, Lysander, is a beautiful example and reminds me to foster imagination. I often still find him wandering the house, sometimes circling the living room on his tippy toes just thinking, imagining, considering; or outside jumping around on the trampoline or lying down gazing at the sky, listening to an audio book or music – and wondering. Is it any wonder, then, that he can imagine four-dimensional space and shape computer code to conceptualize that imagination into a game, to a play-space? Only do not ask him to recite the times table! But the most brilliant minds have always been thus. Just as sports science finds that runners perform better when they intentionally take rest days, so our minds perform better, are more creative, interesting, resilient, when they are intentionally directed away from to-do’s, list-checking, achieving – to wonder.

Howrowitz admits, “We see, but we do not see: we use our eyes, but our gaze is glancing, frivolously considering its object. We see the signs, but not their meanings. We are not blinded, but we have blinders.” And can recall William James’ observation that “My experience is what I agree to attend to. Only those items which I notice shape my mind.”

I advocate for Noticing Adventures. On these adventures we anticipate that, from the ordinary – that which we overlook while on autopilot – we might see, notice, the extraordinary. Or not-so-ordinary. Adrian van Kaam called this, awe abiding attention—that is, an alert, lived moment – in each moment, each step – alive to circumstance: open to see each person passing on the street, the parent and child holding hands – what is the child noticing? The sound of traffic or buzz of voices or lack of voices?

We see the signs, but not their meanings. We are not blinded, but we have blinders. What I notice shapes my mind. And I choose what I will or will not notice. And in doing so, this affirms my prejudices, and confirms my expectations. Awe and wonder erase expectations. The ability to be surprised is exactly that: an ability – one that must be fostered, nurtured, practiced. And then it is conceivable to see what is possible in myself, and in another person, and in the day. And, isn’t that exactly what hope is? And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. (Rom5:5)

To notice is to hope; to give attention is to love. Let us cultivate the art of observation today by gathering the scattered, anxious thoughts toward the center where Jesus resides, where hope is nurtured and love is fueled.

Listen to the sound of the Tibetan singing bowl. I will strike the bowl three times.

With each strike, slow your breathing, deepen each breath. Settle, as your mind and thoughts are brought inward to the heart, while paradoxically becoming more open, receptive, aware – creative. Listen for that space where the sound ends and the silence begins.

Do you hear the voice of God? Listen.

As I chime again, gather your thoughts again (because, if you are like me, they might have drifted back to concerns of the day), and listen with your eyes. Notice where you are, notice something new. An unexpected object or behavior. A color you didn’t notice there before, or a person you often overlook but recognize here.

Wonder at the possibilities. Be in awe of the beauty, or the strange or the unexpected.

Wonder. Be in awe. Remain. Wander.

Be grateful. Give thanks.

 

You can find links, resources and the transcript of this podcast at my website, Eirenicole.com.

And today, may you walk at the pace of grace.

 

Share the love:

Tags: , , ,

Categorised in: , , ,

Leading Together Cover

If you like this article, grab a copy of my book, Leading Together: Mindfulness and the Gender Neutral Zone.

Take a Look

About Nicole

Nicole Oliver Snyder’s expertise lies in the areas of leadership, gender issues, and mindfulness practice as it affects both. Leadership, particularly in an urban setting, requires community-relations skills, and an ability to clearly convey justice issues as they relate to felt, spiritual ones. Dr. Snyder is author of Leading Together: Mindfulness and the Gender Neutral Zone, and specializes in teaching mindfulness leadership development, formative spirituality, counseling, and Old Testament theology (emphasis on justice issues). She has a diverse background in international community-relations work combined with volunteer work in multi-ethnic communities, and with local institutions. She is an ordained Clergy; holds a BS in Human Development and Family Studies, w/Education Certificate, an MA-Counseling, MDiv Equiv., holds a Doctor of Ministry and Advanced Certification in Formative Spiritual Direction, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor (MI).

Recent Articles

Advent – Anticipate With

Make Advent meaningful. Anticipate the celebration of Emmanuel’s birth with another. Designed to guide you into personal, centering prayer during the Advent season, and intentional prayer for a young person (or anyone, really!) Download the pdf document to share and write in, or link to the eBook version. Start today! It is 4 weeks until… Read This Article

Read More

Apathy – the Enemy of Justice

After the preparation and partaking of Thanksgiving’s feast, I might be forgiven a bit of indolence. Yet, as we shared a veritable bounty in the more-than-sufficient space of our home, the reality that there exists countless others with no home and insufficient nourishment persists. It is an immeasurable gift that I enjoy an overwhelmingly gracious… Read This Article

Read More

Listen

One of the most difficult activities for human beings, perhaps the most difficult, is to listen. It asks that I remain still for a time, that my focus lingers on the object of my listening attention for the duration of the message being communicated. It is active. It is intentional. It is human. When Louis… Read This Article

Read More

Use Your Words – but to transform

A common phrase I used with my children when they were developing implements for their communication toolbox was, “Use your words; hitting is not ok.” And it was a useful instrument that led to many discussions about how harming another body in such a way communicates a lack of regard for that person. Then, after… Read This Article

Read More

I want a theology that begins to deepen people's understanding

Reimagine Theology – Relevance in Hurt

Ruby Sales played and continues to play an essential role in securing civil rights for all people. She does this in very practical ways, and she does this in theological ways.

Read More

the great doesn't happen through impulse alone, and is a succession of little things that are brought together

Collaboration and the Art of Giving Up Credit

A creative masterpiece is the result of a succession of little strokes, tiny marks, a single idea and then another.

Read More

Never Miss A Thing

© Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

Enjoy this post? Share it with a friend!