#reverb10 prompt, day 4: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

For me, cultivating wonder happens by intentionally searching out beauty, the unexpected, the unfamiliar. Here are a few ideas for how to do that:

Take trips. Even when I can’t afford to go far, one of the best ways to cultivate wonder is to take trips. Wonder reveals itself when I’m out of my element. Of course everyone would love to travel the world, and I would too. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Europe several times in my short lifetime and to Israel once. But these days, I consider it lucky if I get to take a trip (by car) to the coast or up to the mountains.

Look for wonder on a drive up to Tahoe, on the stretch of Highway 50 that follows the American River. At the lake, where the water shimmers and reflects the surrounding mountains, snow caps and all. When the sun sets, casting brilliant colors through the sky and streaking the lake’s surface. On a wine tasting trip in the foothills, when winding through the hills and back country of Northern California, where grape vines line the landscape in perfect, parallel rows.

Taste test. A while ago I made it my policy that when I come across a food or drink that I’ve never had, I taste it at least once before making a judgment about whether or not I like it. I admit, this is not an easy policy — especially when it comes to things like oysters, which taste like a mouthful of slimy seaweed straight out of the ocean. And I know because I have tasted them. I also know that this policy brings doses of surprise to my life because it forces me to taste things I might not otherwise taste and I’m often pleasantly surprised.

That’s why one of my favorite activities is wine tasting. Not only is wine just plain good, but also the variety of flavors that come in a wine bottle are unlimited and affected by so many variables that you never know what to expect when tasting wine. Even if you always drink the same varietal from your favorite winery (something I’m known for doing), you can’t help but be surprised.

Try things. Some friends of mine have recently gotten into rock climbing. I caught myself dismissing the sport in my head, telling myself that it’s not for me since I’m likely to lose my grip, slip off the wall and make a fool of myself. It’s not something that really interests me, but — like with tasting new food at least once — how do I know whether I like it unless I try it? I probably would never have run a 5k or 10k unless I tried. I probably wouldn’t like yoga unless I had tried it for the first time.

I just started using 750words.com a few days ago and I love-love-love it. It makes writing toward a daily word goal a fun challenge. The first day I used it, I clicked away from the page a couple of times before getting to 750 words. When I was done, my stats told me how many times I got distracted. That’s all it took — the next day, I wrote my 750 words with 0 distractions. And today, I’ve already written 1,513 words. But I would never know how great this program is unless I had tried it first.

Guess that means I will have to give rock climbing a try.

One thought on “how to cultivate wonder

  1. Yeah! Get up on that rock wall! And yes, you will probably slip and fall, but that’s a normal side effect of pushing your abilities which is an integral part of rock climbing.

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