07 December 2010

December 4 - Wonder

How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

Advent calendar says...candelabra.

Cultivate is a very good word choice. As adults, we tend not to moon about wide-eyed and agog over every new experience because we’ve spent our lives building templates that efficiently process and file away information. It’s how we survive as a species, the tradeoff being that we lose some of that magic which came naturally to us as children. I think you probably know where I’m going with this, but in case not, I’ll beat around the bush some more until you’ve forgotten why you came here and buy my knock-off handbags.

I don’t really have knock-off handbags for sale, but I bet every spider on the internet just did a double-take and is poised for a feeding frenzy the likes of which have never been indexed.

I once read an article that described the process whereby the pathways for receptiveness to certain types of experience are systematically blocked off in an infant’s brain if they aren’t utilized. This is partially what determines where our interests and skills lie as adults, and explains why some of us become archeologists while others like to make tiny houses out of their own skin. Once, I told my old NCT group that I intended to expose Hartley to as many different types of experiences as I could before this happened to him, an idea that had barely made it past my lips before they jumped all over me and then unanimously hailed a cardboard box as the ultimate toy and learning tool. I am not sure when and where my cardboard box pathway was interrupted, but I think my mummy group pathway sustained permanent damage as a result of that incident.

But back to the original assertion: if there is wonder to be had in life, and you are over the age of five, how do you go about cultivating a sense of it? I’m lucky because I think that after falling madly in love and moving to one of the most thrilling cities on earth, there was nowhere else to go but down, in the wonderment sense...and then along came Hartley. Hartley creates an ever-present sense of wonder in me: in how he speaks and behaves; what he likes and dislikes; his growing independence and strengthening character - it’s all endlessly fascinating.

It’s also true that children encourage us to take one more look at the world without our self-imposed blinders on - to approach every new experience from that initial place of small beginnings, and even to stop and recognise when a new experience is taking place. I have no idea how this relates to a candelabra. Maybe we just need to be vigilant, and not allow ourselves to snuff out these flames of wonder before we’ve had a chance to feel their little light.

Written in participation with #Reverb10

December 1st - One Word
December 2nd - Writing
December 3rd - Moment

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