Have you ever gotten so mired in routine that your body gets stiff and sore, and you feel all twitchy without knowing why? You could be stuck in a busy daily routine that doesn’t nurture your soul, a relationship that has gotten stagnant, a stressful job, or outdated old beliefs about yourself and your place in the world. It doesn’t matter what it is. You know the feeling I’m talking about – it’s like spiritual claustrophobia. Or as songwriter Mike Doughty puts it, “sometimes I feel like I’m looking at the world from the bottom of a well.”
The word “wonder” has a couple of different meanings, both of which I’d like to explore here. It can mean an alert curiosity, as in, “I wonder what would happen if I accepted that new job offer.” It can also indicate awe and amazement, such as the wonder you feel when you gaze at the vast expanse of the ocean or a deep dark sky full of stars.
Wondering about your circumstances, and what might happen if you made a change, allows new energy to flow into your experience. It doesn’t even have to be a major change. Let yourself ponder your options. What would happen if you went for a walk this evening instead of settling onto the couch for some Netflix? What if you asked your partner to come home early and spend the afternoon with you? If you’re depressed or in a serious crisis, wonder about what might change if you made a couple of phone calls to therapists and set up an appointment.
Yes, musing about change feels much safer than actually acting, and its possible to get stuck here, too. But wondering is the first step. Once you’ve opened your mind and heart to new possibilities, they might not be quite so scary. Your situation might not seem quite so set in stone. Wondering is a good start.
Tapping into your sense of wonder is another useful tool for getting unstuck. Nature is an amazing healer. When you’re outside in a beautiful setting, your own problems will shrink, at least temporarily. Go to the shore, or the mountains, or for a walk in the forest. If you’re afraid to go alone, ask a trusted friend to accompany you. Make space for some silent time as part of your excursion.
Be quiet and let the power of nature affect you. Stop and gaze at the world around you. Wonder at the forces that brought about this gorgeous planet of ours. Let the sense of wonder that you had as a young child seep back into your heart. Breathe deeply, drawing the fresh air down into your lungs.
Repeat these two steps several times – wonder about your circumstances, and get outdoors regularly. Journal about your experience. Allow wonder to be your companion, inviting it in for tea. Very slowly, start to take steps toward change. You’ll be surprised at the gentle power of these seemingly simple techniques.