How can we bring wonder back into our lives?
Over the last few months I have watched with joy and delight as Ethan has developed his mind/body connection. This has included discovering his eyes, tongue, hands and voice, in each moment looking in absolute wonder at his new found skills. I reflect on that wondrous feeling of discovery and how beneficial bringing a curious mindset can be for influencing motivation and happiness.
One of Ethan’s books ‘On the Day You Were Born’ by Debra Frasier got me thinking a lot and made me curious about this wondrous world again. At the end of the book there is a section ‘More about the World around you’ which describes the reasons behind things such as migrating animals, the spinning earth, pulling gravity, flaming sun, glowing moon and the rising tide. These were things I was fascinated with as a child and it was great to reconnect with them. I question when did I transition to autopilot and not appreciate the wonders of the world every day?
I think Keegan’s Stages of Adult Development may explain part of this. As we go through our teenage years it’s easy to get stuck in the egocentric and socialised phases. Many of us sadly don’t ever get out of these. If we can spend time in the next level of integral / self-authoring I think that’s where more wisdom emerges and wonder appreciated.
So how can we adopt a more curious mindset?
Unlearning: One of my dear colleagues and friends John (JayRay) shared an insight with me once about ‘unlearning’ and how it’s possible to unlearn some habits and patterns of thinking, to bring about new thinking and change. This takes as much time and commitment as learning.
I believe mindfulness practice definitely helps bring us out of autopilot and more present and curious about what’s going on around us. A new app that’s worth exploring is ‘Mindfulness for Fidgety Skeptics’ by Dan Harris which I mention in a recent IECL blog here
Listening to learn: I’m a big believer in when we’re talking we’re not learning and how much wiser we can become through listening. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason 🙂 This can be hard as most of us do love the sound of our own voice and being heard but well worth the wait.
Asking lots of questions:. Think of a young toddler and their constant curiosity, mum why is the sky blue?, dad why do you go to work? These simple, maybe at times frustrating questions can actually push us to our thinking limits. Two of our favourites at IECL are the why and what else question.
Being curious and asking lots of questions goes against the way many of us have been taught through our education, with knowing the answer being the goal. I have been refreshed however to see new styles of teaching emerging here in Australia and globally. I was thrilled to hear some of the concepts being used in the school that my sister Holly teaches at in the UK. They explore a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset with the slogan, I don’t know…….yet. This style of discovery learning builds on potential.
Adopting a more curious mindset has been a journey for me. In my school and university days I would describe myself as a bit of a perfectionist who thrived on knowing the answers. This did me well in terms of grades but I feel I am much wiser for having embraced listening to learn and not taking things at face value. For those perfectionists out there ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’ by Brene Brown is worth a read.
To finish, five tips to bring wonder back into our lives:
- Spend time with a baby/toddler in your network
- Read a children’s book
- Start a simple, short mindfulness practice
- Look at a sunrise in wonder as if for the first time
- Ask more why and what else questions