The Two Things You Need To Experience More Wonder
There’s a fun game we play in our house called, Where Are Parker’s Glasses? The only fun part of this game is when we find the glasses that my son can’t seem to keep up with and they’re actually in one functioning piece. But this game sucks super duper hard when you turn the house upside-down and inside-out for two months and continue to have no glasses.
Missing glasses: 100, Mom: 0.
Oh, but nothing beats the exaggerated victory of finding the glasses after many moons have passed — especially when you weren’t even looking! Like, say, when I pulled up the middle row seats in my car to discover the missing frames had been quietly resting under our bums for the past 1,200 miles. I held those glasses over my head and did the running man while chanting, “I found ‘em, I found ‘em, I found ‘em!”
It feels particularly satisfying to find something that you thought you’d lost. But what this round of Where Are Parker’s Glasses: Extended Version, taught me is that most of the time what I’m looking for is right under my nose (or in this case, my ba-donk-a-donk), and once I let go of trying so hard, the thing I had been searching for shows up for me.
This is a truth I learn over and over again: the more I can allow myself to let go, the more room I make for wonder to unfold. To me, wonder is what happens when I quit attempting to twist and mold the narrative into exactly what I think it should be and instead open my mind to the possibility that there are multiple ways for every experience to play out. Who am I to put limits on what’s possible? Rather than being anchored to only one outcome, I’d rather believe something wonderful and unexpected can add to my life in ways I never even considered. The only trouble I run into with using this mindset to kick ass every day, is when I indulge the fearful voices, which take me out of the moment.
You’ll always know that you’re listening to fearful thinking when you find yourself comparing the present to your past or thinking about everything that could go wrong in the future. This type of mental time travel transports you out of the moment and provokes all kinds of stories that may or may not be true. Just because you failed five years ago when you tried something new doesn’t mean you will fall short again. Just because you try to protect yourself from being disappointed three months from now does not mean you’ll be successful. Life is unpredictable. If you haven’t learned that by now, do not pass go and do not collect 200 dollars.
You do yourself no favors when you allow fear to deflect your focus from what’s happening in the here and now. If you want to find out how powerful and capable you really are, start by letting go of what you think should happen and instead allow your situation to feel limitless. Thinking you have it all figured out only puts a cap on your potential for wonder. Please do not glass ceiling your own magic. That would be tragic magic.
The sooner you accept that life is full of changes, the faster you can learn that you are capable of handling the surprise bombs that are launched your way. Instead of feeding your fear, nurture your very real ability to figure things out as needed, one step at a time. Keep channeling your efforts and energy into the present moment and deciding what you can do right now.
Not only does present-moment thinking help you give fear the side eye, but this tool also helps you discover the truth of your intentions, which also plays a role in how situations unravel for you. If your intention comes from a positive place, it will be easier to let go and take inspired action. When fear is attached to the intention, it’s like a heard of elephants plus one Carnival cruise ship worth of resistance. If you’ve ever had an experience where you didn’t plan for an epic memory, but one unfolded as if you were under a fabulous spell, you know what I mean. If not, here’s an example.
Situation: You’re planning a night out with a group of friends.
Positive Intentions: You truly just want to go have a fun time with good company. After dinner you all decide you have the energy to stay out longer, so you pop-in a random place that you have no expectations about. You all end up dancing until the wee hours with interesting strangers and laughing so hard your face hurts.
Fearful Intentions: This sounded fun at first, but now you can’t stop thinking about everything that could go wrong and it’s causing anxiety. You’re giving yourself a headache obsessing over the best venues and activities and there’s a big part of you that just wants to cancel the evening completely.
The reason the night out with positive intentions was so legendary is because you were open to the limitlessness that the night had to offer you. You didn’t try to force a party vibe, but instead allowed it to happen because the root of your motive was to enjoy yourself with your friends. Those type of nights cannot be replicated by visiting the same dance club, but are only possible when you replicate the intention and release the outcome to unending possibilities.
The problem with the fearful intentions in this example is that there’s a need to impress the other party people and a desire to meet a specific expectation in terms of the results. This only puts boundaries on how the night will shake out and closes the door to wonderment.
Staying in the present moment and understanding the quality of your intentions is the key to discovering all the not-so-mysterious insights and guidance that is right under your nose (or bum, if you will). Aim to stay in this space more often and before you know it you’ll be doing the running man and shouting, “I found it, I found it, I found it!”