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A Monday meander: Wonder

Emerging moon.

When I walk — which I do every day, as basic sanity-maintenance, whether in the forest or the cemetery or the city street — I walk the same routes, walk along loops, loops I often retrace multiple times in a single walk. This puzzles people. Some simply don’t get the appeal of such recursiveness. Others judge it as dull. But I walk to think more clearly, which means to traverse the world with ever-broadening scope of attention to reality, ever-widening circles of curiosity, ever-deepening interest in the ceaselessly flickering constellation of details within and without.

~ Maria Popova, Brain Pickings (Loops, Language, the Paradoxical Loneliness of “I Love You,” and What Keeps Love Alive)

To wonder is to begin to understand.

~Aristotle

Moonrise near sunset.

Do you remember what it felt like to be fascinated by life before you even knew the meaning of the word “fascinated?” So much around you was new, and you were full of questions and excitement.

~Linda White Dove

A glimpse of sunset in the garden.

In my last post I mentioned a practice with Valarie Kaur as part of The People’s Inauguration.  Ms. Kaur starts the practices (there is one every day during the ten days of the event) with a deep breath and long exhale, a story, and then a guided meditation.  The theme of the first practice is Wonder and as part of this practice, we are encouraged to spend the day in wonder and wondering.  We could wonder about nature, the trees, the sky, the sun, whatever others we might meet along the way, and to start the wondering we are instructed to say to whomever or whatever we notice, quietly and to ourselves, “You are a part of me I don’t yet know.”

Rising up from the muck of winter.

I know I wrote that I wouldn’t share too much of it as it seemed unfair to give away what isn’t mine, but then it occurred to me that the speakers and teachers participating in The People’s Inauguration are gifting us with their teachings (there is no charge), and it feels right to pass some of that on in case it can be of help or service.

Frost visits a young holly.

I don’t meet many people these days.  We’re pretty isolated out here in the Middle of Nowhere.  It’s only when I go for walks (an everyday occurrence) or shopping (about every three weeks or so) that I encounter other humans (besides M, of course).  So, my practice with wonder has been a conversation with nature.  But part of the practice does involve seeing other people in this way, to wonder about them, to think of them as a part of us that we don’t yet know.  As I walked past a neighbor’s house the other day, I thought of this.  I did not see the people who live in the house.  As far as I can recall, I never have seen them.  I know people live in the house because I’ve seen lights on or cars parked in the driveway or other indications of habitation.  But I’ve never seen the people themselves.  I can tell you they must have at least one child, a son.  I know that because of a sign they had on their front lawn for a while.  It was something about having a son in the Boy Scouts.  I also know they are T**mp supporters.  Along with an American flag flying high on their flag pole, there is a large flag announcing who they supported for 2020.  The flag of the Big Lie, as I think of it, still flies.

The practice of wonder presented an opportunity for me to wonder.  Who are these people?  What kind of work do they do?  What kind of food do they like?  How many children do they have?  What kind of future do they wish for their children and grandchildren?  What is it they fear?  What is it they love?  (And for the love of all the gods and all the beings on earth, why are they still flying that flag?  Because, yes, I did ask myself that question, too.)

The no’s.  It’s a bit cold for nudity on the beach right now.

The point of the practice of wondering about others is to help us see them as one of us rather than as “other.”  A third part of the practice is to refer to them (people, trees, other-than-humans), quietly and to yourself, as brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandmother, grandfather.  It’s a practice to remind us that we are all interconnected, we are all related.  I quite easily and naturally do this with the old trees around here, referring to them as great-grandmother or grandfather.

Holly in the sunlight.

Out on my walk today, I was thinking that I could work with this practice for years and years, and still learn something new.  It also occurred to me that when it comes to faith and Spirit or Self or High Power or the Great Whatever, this would be a wonder-full practice.  To wonder, to say, “You are a part of me I don’t yet know,” brings me closer to the Divine in a way that can’t be done just by making up my mind that I believe this or that.  It opens my heart to learning and knowing.  It opens me to wondering.

In the woods on a winter’s day.

I’m going to keep this short because I think just this, the practice, is enough.  Thank you for visiting with me today.  I hope you’ll try the practice for an hour, a day, or whatever suits you.

Please be safe, be well, be kind, and live in wonder as much as you can.  ♥

Following the light.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  1,696)  Sitting in on the Art of Self Care class today, listening, learning, questioning.  1,697)  M, always.  1,698)  Chatting with a friend.  1,699)  Thinking about, wondering about, the essence of love.  1,700)  Planning what will go in the garden this year.

Light on the path.

Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, yoga teacher, sometime poet, wife, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She shares her daily walks and meanders, a lot of quotes, some of her artwork, and a lot of her photography here on Ye Olde Blogge. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are (still!) in the midst of renovating the house and cleaning up the property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

24 thoughts on “A Monday meander: Wonder

  1. I love the holly shot…and am grateful for the pushing up from the much shot. And I always love your dark paths through the woods. I wonder if you will be able to think of your neighbor as ‘brother,’ it would be a step to unity I guess, but I wonder if they would be hospitable to you? I guess we can’t ever move forward if we’re not willing to risk.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dawn. 🙂 I think if we stayed away from political beliefs, my neighbors might be hospitable although it’s hard to say since I’ve yet to even see them or meet them. I like what you wrote about being willing to risk. I think that’s how we open to anything in life. We have to be willing to risk. Or just willing.

      Like

    1. Thank you, Dale. 🙂 It is beautiful, isn’t it? I think that will be the biggest take-away for me from the talks and practices. I’m going to read Valarie’s book soon, which is (I think) where you can find all of these teachings.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m smiling because I feel so much similarity to my own life here. I don’t live in as isolated place as you do, but I’m still not really going anywhere. I almost used that same Brainpickings quote, and our neighbor across the street still has his stupid Big Lie flag. UGHHHHHHHHH! I have a photo of me somewhere with a similar no nudity sign from the Chincoteague area. And it’s possible that I sometimes talk to trees. . .and definitely possible that I talk to the animals I see when I’m out walking. 😀.
    Beautiful photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Merril. 🙂 I bet it’s the same sign (that one is in the Chincoteague area). Now I’m imagining you as (possibly) talking to the trees and the animals when you’re out on your walks. I have really been enjoying your images from your walks by the river.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The ‘frost visits a young holly’ picture took my breath away! Joining you so often in the practice of wondering, like you, mostly in nature… But when we go out for a drive for a change of scenery I try to imagine the lives of people living in the various houses and neighborhoods by what they have in their yards or hanging from their fences and trees…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Perhaps if more of us embraced openness — to those who might be different or as-yet-unknown to us — we might attain an understanding and eventually a respect for one another. It’s got to start somewhere, doesn’t it? We have so much to lose if we throw each other away!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Perhaps, Debbie. I like to think that’s true. It is hard to be so open and vulnerable, and maybe beyond possibility for some. I think it starts with being open with ourselves, learning about why we think what we think and what our beliefs truly are. But there does have to be that openness and willingness first. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Years ago I used to think that other people were like the cells of my body that I didn’t know yet. But have kinda forgotten that recently. Have been practicing seeing the “original nature” or “true nature” of people–the love that we all are–before our fears, thoughts, opinions and beliefs. But that’s a hard one, too. Thanks for sharing this for further thought today!

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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