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Thresholds

by Donna Bennett
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Shoulds and Expectations: Where's the Wonder?

We live in a culture that is focused on getting things done. Busyness is embedded in the routine of our daily lives. Much of what drives our busyness is our shoulds. If our shoulds don't motivate us, we can count on expectations to get us moving, our own and others' as well. The art of wonder, which we had abundantly in childhood, is all but lost as we hurry through our lives.

If we wonder at all in the midst of our busyness, we are likely to wonder: "Did I turn off the...before I left?"; "Would he/she/they wait a few more days for...?"; "How long has it been since I called...?"; "Is it time for mom's/dad's/pet's/child's checkup?", and so on.

Then there is the wonder that helps us forget our busyness and routines, the wonder of nature, a concert, an exhibit, or a thought-provoking lecture. Activities that offer us the opportunity to wonder at a deeper level. If we are open to it, we may notice something stirring within. It may sound something like this: "Hmmm, I'd like to know more about...." "Maybe I could take some time to...." "I've always wanted to learn to...."

However, before we can take these wonders beyond the moment, the realities of life return, and our shoulds and expectations return.

Vacations give us an even wider berth for wonder. But, they're over in a blink, and shoulds and expectations quickly come flooding back. It sounds rather bleak, but unfortunately, it is reality for many of us.

What if the stirrings that began in you during those opportune moments were allowed to continue? The moments when you were moved by the wonder of a beautiful scene, the joy of being in touch with your body through exercise or warm sunshine, the wonder of a piece of sculpture, a drawing, or a piece of music shared with someone close.

What would it take to capture and hold that wonder? What would it look like? What would you do with it? How would you begin?

Journaling about your thoughts, feelings, surroundings, and senses during or shortly after these experiences, is a good way to begin. Reading children's books, spending time with children, recalling and doing some of the things that made you wonder as a child are excellent ways to grab hold of wonder.

Try to be intentional about building wonder into your day so that it becomes the usual rather than the exception. Why? When you include wonder in your day, it may invoke in you a desire to carry it forward. To expand on your wonder and share it with others in ways that can make a difference in your world, in another's world, or within a community.

In addition to wondering about the things you need to get done, what if you made it a part of your daily life to include wonder at a deeper level. Wouldn't it be worth a try?

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