I can think of three big ways that I cultivated wonder in the past year.
The first is cultivating curiousity. Curiousity is one of the best allies in dealing with stuff (where by stuff I mean emotional difficulties of all kinds) because it is a tool for staying soft in places where it would be easy to harden and push back. I find it especially useful when I’m reacting to someone else’s expression of their thoughts or feelings: where I’m tempted to think how could they think that? I try to reach for I wonder how that works for them.
This can sound like a cop-out: just substituting one thought for another on the surface. I find that it slowly retrains me, though: eventually, I start saying I wonder about things as a first reaction, and then, later still, I start actually wondering.
The second way is deepening connections. Almost always, when I see someone or something around me with an extra shot of clarity, whether it’s something they said or did or a shift in my point of view that caused it, I am filled with wonder and amazement. Getting to know old friends better and making new ones, interacting intimately with art and beauty, and good old-fashioned taking a breath to return to the present all help me with this.
The last way is interacting with the natural world. Seriously, do you have any idea how weird it is out there?! Really weird, and amazing, and surprising all the time. Of course, nature’s beauty and power are on display in amazing ways all the time (sunsets jump to mind), but I also find surprising power in the familiar: the path along the pond I walk most days from work or the river house that’s been in my family for generations.
How about you? What fills you with a sense of wonder?