Nov 20 2017

December Journal: What does it mean to be a People of WONDER?

Published by at 9:53 pm under Minister's Musings

In Our Own Voices: What does it mean to be a People of WONDER?
“In Our Own Voices” shares congregants’ free-flowing responses to the theme of the month. We draw these responses from on-line surveys and use them in creating worship, small-group ministry content, and other opportunities for spiritual growth. Look for news of the latest survey in this edition of the newsletter!
When we mention the word wonder, our spirits rise. Respondents’ words lift off the page. We get a physical sensation—a “sense memory,” we call such moments in the acting world—of an opening in the chest, a gasp of breath, a widening of the eyes, a release of endorphins and peace that floods through our body. We stop in our tracks. The corners of our mouths turn up into a gentle smile. Our minds spark with curiosity and eagerness to learn. We feel connected to something larger than ourselves.
Yes, we have to slow down in our hectic, sometimes overwhelming lives in order to notice the moments that bring wonder into our lives. We have to be looking for those moments, open and available to them. But they are there, moments large and small, waiting for our mindful attention. Once noticed, these moments of wonder can change how we move into the next moment—with our broken-open hearts, Love spilling out, and a calm assurance that we are part of an interconnected web of all existence.
May we deepen our practices that lead us to wonder this month! What a great way to enter into the New Year!
With love and wonder in our resilience and strength,
Rev. Nancy
Curiosity as a Path to Wonder
·        Approaching the unknown with an attitude of gentle curiosity
·        Curiosity and deep exploration
·        The mere word WONDER opens up a space in my chest and makes me realize that sometimes I live too tightly bound—in my heart, mind, and body. To be a People of Wonder, or a Person of Wonder, I will ask more questions, be more curious, not jump to conclusions or offer advice and my own opinions, instead of seeking to understand others more deeply first. “I notice …, and I wonder …” is a great formula for getting at difficult conversations. Yes, yes, of course this theme crops up in December when the world’s religious holidays encourage us to experience awe and wonder. But I hope we figure out wider ways to apply this invitation to transformation.
·        The world is a fascinating place, with ever more things to discover. To lose our curiosity and our sense of wonder at the evolving universe would be a terrible thing. What new thing can you see or learn today?
The Opposite of Limitations
·        Instead of thinking in terms of limitations, think: What would my life be like if I learned to identify and to question my self-limiting thoughts?
·        We remind ourselves and each other to wake up and perceive (see, hear, touch) with Awe all the amazingly diverse manifestations of existence. We struggle to understand, and when we arrive at the edge of our limited ability to explain, we step back, gasp a breath, and are struck with a spiritual “Wow!” Without that awareness (Awe-wareness?), our lives would be flat.
Spiritual Practices of Wonder
·        Make time for the natural world, for poetry, music, animals, babies, stories, laughter, and connection.
·        Showing appreciation for things beyond our understanding, like children do—not trying always to appear Cool
·        We notice works that seem beyond the ordinary, casual, and mundane. And we thank or acknowledge the people who are responsible.
·        Ah. We are such a busy society and we seem to be proud of our inability to slow down. How can we find what to wonder about, if we can’t slow down? And now we’re so busy with the political news that it’s tough to remember why we are alive. I love the way friends post pictures of flowers to Facebook; it encourages me to look for those places in my life that renew my spirit.
Staying Open to the “Something More”
·        Wonder, I believe, keeps us grounded in miracles. To be a people of wonder is to be a people that count blessings and see silver linings. A people of wonder may or may not believe in capital-G God, but they often have a connection with a higher power, a sense of universal goodness and creation. In my book, scientists are a people of wonder and appreciation for the wonders of the world. Lastly, wonder keeps us open to welcoming the next person, the next example of creation and life.
·        To me a moment of wonder is when we release our attachments to all we think is real and allow the presence of the NOW to fill our mind and heart. It creates an instant when all is perfect within us, individually and as a whole in Oneness. We really cannot create that moment of wonder by ourselves. It comes when we release ourselves to the Oneness we are in joining, in unity, leaving ALL separation behind. I call this a holy instant.
·        It means to see the world through the eyes of a beginner, a child, or anyone who casts aside their normal way of thinking to view everything anew. It means to hold all life, life forms, and creation as miracles of nature/divine and to treat them as such.
·        There is much to wonder at in the material world, human relationships, and human achievements. But we need to be open to the ineffable, the divine, as well.
·        Of course all things are related. Wonder and Appreciation (November’s theme) can easily be connected. But wonder feels more introspective. There is Wonder in complexity. Wonder in simplicity. Wonder goes beyond noticing to joy and awe.

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