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.
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
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.”
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.
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 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.
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.
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. ♥
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.