A large storm recently hit my neighborhood and we lost several trees.  Their loss has changed the landscape of my neighborhood, and on a recent chilly and late night, as I was outside walking my dog around the block before bedtime, it revealed something new to me. Across the street from us were two tall trees, their defined branches, and lush, carved-out leaves, were swaying in the night wind against a bright gray backdrop.  The site of it stopped me in my tracks, and I just stood there for what seemed like an eternity as wonder flooded my cells.  It was invigorating, and it left me feeling an incredible sense of connection to all that surrounded me.

I think so often we are racing from task A to task B that we don’t allow any breathing room for wonder to sweep us away.  Getting lost in wonder doesn’t require one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World to be at our doorstep; it is merely a mindset, an allowing.  It almost seems like there is a black and white philosophy put to moments like these; either you are a busy, successful person, or you are a ‘granola hippie’ with time on your hands.  However, I assure you, this majesty of wonder is open to all of us, at any time.  The only part of you that may need an adjustment to revel in it, is the part that values looking for it.  The part of you that wants to be stirred with beauty, imagination, longing, and wonder, simply needs to be given permission to thrive.

Sometimes we are caught off guard.  We’re commuting home and suddenly we catch the sunset out the corner of our eye.  Instantly, all the thoughts swirling in our head are paused as we embrace the wonder before us.  In this moment we are filled with a fullness that seems unexplainable.  To me, that is us experiencing our connection to all, even if just for a brief moment.

How can we find wonder in the ordinary?  I was recently listening to a webinar series hosted by Eckhart Tolle and Oprah Winfrey.  In 2006 they did a ten-week course discussing each chapter of Tolle’s book, “A New Earth: Awaken to Your Life’s Purpose.”  I downloaded these classes from iTunes and listen to them regularly.  They discuss the easiest way to be present is to begin in nature, but to do so without mental labels.  In other words, look upon the tree nearest you.  Don’t label the tree as an Oak tree, or a Pine tree, but rather just look upon it.  Allow yourself to stroke your fingers over the bark, and feel the grooves, the smoothness or roughness.  Take in the smell, and the shapes of its leaves.  Perhaps the sunlight provides a contrast between the back and front of the leaves as you look up towards the sky?  Just hold wonder for the tree.  Tolle continues: when we label items, we automatically conjure up a picture in our mind of an Oak tree, and we no longer are actually looking at the individual tree in front of us; we are no longer present with it.  I would add, without being present in the ‘now’ of life, there is no wonder.

I think music is also an in-road to wonder.  There are certain passages of music that sweep us off our feet and transport us far from our thoughts to a colorful world of wonder.  As a massage therapist, I personally listen to a great deal of instrumental music.  My clients would be the first to tell you I have an eclectic playlist during my sessions.  To me, many of these pieces allow me to get out of my own thinking mind, and to better connect with the client’s body.  Do you have a piece of music that takes you to a place of wonder?

One year ago tomorrow, I said goodbye to my best friend, Mahleep.  She had an aggressive mast cell tumor and was gone a mere seven weeks after diagnosis.  I first held her in my arms when she was an eight weeks old puppy, and she passed away just shy of her tenth birthday.  She was an Australian Cattle Dog/Border Collie mix, and the love of my life.  As I reflect on her life, and her passing, I hold complete wonder for the hearts capacity to love, and to grieve.  The very depths that exist within us to sense such a pure, infinite connection; it is breathtakingly beautiful and beyond the explanation of words.

Love- it rushes the flood gates of gratitude, and it’s our fastest route back to our very essence; our God within; where wonder lingers waiting for us.

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