“Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder” ~E.B. White
I’ve recently discovered a secret, intoxicating way to feel consistently uplifted and expansive in my life. I’ll share it with you: I’ve been cultivating a state of wonder! Allowing myself to cozy in and hang out here, considering life with admiration, definitely keeps things fresh and far from boring or routine. Instead, launching my thoughts from a place of wonder powerfully infuses new perspectives into my landscape. Being open to a state of wonderment—allowing yourself to feel surprised amazement, awe, or joy as you savor what comes your way at any given moment—always brings new understandings and awarenesses into play.
Life can feel richer, and hold greater meaning and depth, when I approach it with astonishment and curiosity. I’ve found it exhilarating to wonder because it keeps my mind open and in a state of possibility. You can’t help but feel good when you are pondering. It’s a great place to be. And the beauty of it is that one can contemplate anything and everything.
Embodying this state has, as an additional perk, also enhanced my emotional commitment to pleasure—pure, unadulterated pleasure. Those who know me can easily confirm that I try to find and experience pleasure everywhere. I love to be wowed! It uplifts my mood, keeps me happier, and furthers a sense of expansive well-being. It’s a delightful place to land. Potent endorphins kick in when we allow ourselves to be in awe, and from there, we can’t help but be gently lulled into a sweet euphoric state. All that said, I highly recommend viewing your world through the eyes of wonder! Let me share three ways you’re guaranteed to benefit from adopting this vantage point.
Wonder Furthers Flow
Intentionally observing your world through a lens of wonder is life-enhancing on many fronts. Being in wonderment furthers flow. Being in flow means being so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. Flow is about full-out involvement. Maintaining openness is like taking a magic pill. For it is our inner experience and attitude that impacts how we interpret events. If our attitude is one of awe—of being amazed at things before us—we more automatically cultivate perceptions that can bring us joy.
Some of my best moments, when I feel most vibrantly alive, are when I’m stretching myself to grow, taking on a challenge, or pushing my expanding borders. In the midst of these types of experiences I’m in flow, completely absorbed in what I’m doing. Presencing wonder helps facilitate these forward actions. Amazement can pleasantly grip you. It’s a darn good, curious feeling, and it has the additional effect of nudging you toward a bold following-through with your intentions. So by bringing a sense of wonder into the mix, we are controlling for a level of internal contentment. Again, this is because our inner experience is what determines the quality of, and our capacity for, how we experience each moment.
Wondering Counters Frustration
If one is musing, one is naturally curious and questioning rather than feeling stuck or frustrated. When faced with a challenging situation, if you contemplate the predicament, your mind automatically opens to considering different options, solutions, or new facets of reality—similar to how a prism filters a display of beautiful colors. If, instead, you simply let yourself sink into the frustration of a tough circumstance, barriers and obstacles are much more likely to multiply. Your vision is narrowed when frustrated.
Nestling in wonder, on the other hand, can serve as a preventative of sorts, keeping your awareness and energy more positive in difficult situations. You’ll attend differently. The capacity to reflect allows us to assess experiences, especially tough or traumatic ones, much more broadly. It’s a more expansive state of being compared to frustration, which leaves you often feeling trapped or at a dead end. Musing can actually safeguard you from getting caught in a rut of angst or despair.
Astonishment can additionally embody a feeling of not quite believing what one is seeing. For example, pure awe at a sky filled with stars, your child’s first giggle and smile, or a magnificent sunrise. If you are fascinated by something, it is hard to also feel frustration at the same time. So approaching moments from a place of marvel, amazement, or even bewilderment, allows us to connect with our world more vividly.
Wondering Enhances Relationships
My experience of, and in, relationships has greatly improved since making a commitment to embrace a state of wonderment. I connect, share, and attend to others more deliberately and meaningfully. Engaging in relationships from a perspective of curiosity—instead of assuming, concluding, judging, comparing, criticizing, or defensively posturing myself—packs a powerful punch. And when interactions get complicated or tense, reflection helps me stay in the game in a much better way. Experiencing a sense of fascination or intrigue about the circumstance I’m in with another is much more pleasant than getting annoyed, angry, or shutting down.
Connections with our fellow humans are plenty complex enough in their moment-to-moment unfolding. If we too quickly dump our own conclusions or habitual patterns of thinking into the mix, an encounter can become quickly stilted or stressful. If, on the other hand, we simply pause and gently wonder about another’s behavior, we open ourselves to better outcomes. Curiosity, empathy, and compassion come into play.
Things are much more likely to roll well between my husband and I, for example, when I can witness his idiosyncrasies from a place of curiosity or marvel. Thinking about him and his ways keeps me in discovery mode. I feel more loving and connected. Intrigue pulls us toward another. It’s a truly magical and magnificent. Manifesting a reverence for life’s moments is a key ingredient to nurturing dynamic, juicy, rich relationships. Presencing wonder is, dare I say, downright wonderful! Nest there, my friends. Nest there.
This article is also published in Ann Arbor’s The Brick Magazine