In my mind, a sense of wonder starts with curiosity: something we’re all born with. The question I ask myself is: How can we keep that sense of wonder as we grow older?
Young children are constantly learning something new: how to read, how to tie their shoes, how to ride a bicycle. It’s not surprising that if we don’t make a conscious effort to keep a sense of curiosity and wonder, life may seem mundane as we grow older.
When I lived in Lesotho, I listened to BBC World on my small radio, and was interested in hearing how Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, reflected on her travels abroad. The interviewer commented on how brave Elizabeth was to uproot her life and move alone to Italy, India and Bali, for one year. Elizabeth replied that she didn’t think she was brave, but simply curious about life and other people.
Another person I admire is Maria Shriver. She recently wrote in her blog, “Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper,” about how she took a one-month break from work, and decided to focus on:
“Less busyness. Less intense thinking. More calm. More connection. More wonder.”
Shriver decided to travel to Africa with her youngest son, and her goal was to focus on:
the concept of wonder
“Wonder gets you out of your head. It feels less intense than thinking. It feels more stream of consciousness and more creative. It actually feels freeing and it allows one to connect more with oneself and others.
Wonder is what I felt as I drove across the vast, open Serengeti. I found myself wondering what it might be like to live there full time, either working in the conservation movement or working with the women I met who are trying to overcome deep poverty and build lives that their mothers could have never imagined.
The thing that I found interesting was how she found the right word to describe Africa. Wonder.” Maria Shriver
I feel a connection with Elizabeth Gilbert and Maria Shriver, in that I’m curious about other people, and always want to keep learning.
Some people are more curious, and thirsty for new experiences than others. I’ve always felt the need to get away from my daily routine in order to satisfy my sense of curiosity. I do this in the following ways:
On a small scale:
- Speaking to someone new every day
- Trying a new recipe
- Reading a novel I wouldn’t normally read
- Re-connecting with someone I haven’t spoken to in over a year
- Joining a new group such as “Dining For Women”
- Joining a TED Talks discussion group
On a larger scale:
- Starting my new travel club
- Traveling to new places
- Leading my first trip to Kenya with ten women
I keep myself open to new opportunities.
How about you? How do you keep your sense of wonder? I’d love to hear.
A sense of wonder is key! It means becoming aware of one’s surroundings, using all our senses, living the present moment to the full, and searching for the novel aspect of each event. Those who travel the world are very fortunate. However, let’s be positive and say that staying put should surely bring about an equal sense of wonder and gratitude, if we try hard enough!