Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Twelve Ways of Christmas - Way 3: Wonder

Sound Cloud audio link:  The Twelve Ways of Christmas - Way 3

This Way is a day delayed as a result of unexpected rituals and Grace.  I’m not prone to wanting   (Marcia is a caterer.) This surprise treat was even more special because I had just written of the gift of food as a meaningful ritual in Way 2.  Eating longed for fruitcake became part of my evening then around 7:30 we spontaneously decided to pull out Christmas cd’s (yes, we still use cd's) and ride the neighborhood streets looking at Christmas lights.  As for Grace, Grace is the dear bundle of life that visited me for the first time since her unexpected early entry into our world months prior.
fruitcake yet all week I had been wanting fruitcake. I even considered making one for the first time in a decade.  My former neighbor Marcia’s timing was perfect as I heard a knock at the front door yesterday and found her holding a beautifully wrapped box containing homemade fruitcake.

The Third Way of Christmas was delayed because I was engaged in it through Marcia’s unexpected gift, Christmas lights and Grace.  

“For the Third Way of Christmas, the Season gave to me a Spirit of Wonder.” 

This may sound a bit strange but the first association I made with Wonder for this story involved flying on planes.  For a period, I flew to San Francisco and New York City regularly from my Nashville home.  These coast-to-coast flights prompted wonder in me that I had never felt in previous travels.  As I saw, really saw, the planet's people in airports and looked down on Mother Earth from the plane window I would marvel and think, "It is a wonder we are all here."

With all the opportunities for misunderstandings and miscommunications and with all our outer differences, we as a whole, this teeming, moving mass of people, we get along.  Yes, there is still much violence and fear-based hate between countries, peoples and individuals yet this doesn't take away from the wonder that in the bigger picture most of us get along.

Similarly from high in planes, I would look down and marvel at how wondrous it is that Mother Earth patiently supports us.  We take and take; we dig and blast and she continues to let us live here.  This too stirs my wonder.

Closer to home, Nature stirs my wonder daily.  Whether its winter’s cold, hard Earth holding Spring's green life beneath me or the Sun, Stars and Moon sharing their energy above me wonder is stirred.
These last two weeks, the juncos around me have prompted wonder.  These little black and white ground feeders remember where food is found from the Winter prior.  And just like clockwork they return to my yard each December. 

Then there are the seasonal wonders as I experienced last night.  I jumped from the car on occasion to take photos and felt the joy of being a fifty-something kid as my insides oohed and ahhed at light displays on neighbor's homes as trees twinkled in many windows.  This year the lights on trees reminded me on a deeper level of the light held by trees year round, the energetic, quantum light that's always there but not often seen as we hurry about and have forgetten how to see, really see.

Openness is a prerequisite for wonder and that's where the challenge begins. Wonder is reserved for children and a handful of artistic souls who manage to hold onto a way of seeing that's educated out of the masses scripted to compete academically and athletically.

Many are robbed of wonder at a young age due to abuse, addiction and violence.  Over this foundation of trauma and loss is laid pressures, expectations, unrealistic merry messages exacerbating isolation, alienation and despair. (Though I'm filled with wonder now, there have been times past when I have wanted to check out or 'return home.'  Don’t think I'm immune to pain. Now I find wonder in the puzzle pieces of my life’s story and my awakening to wonder at 50.)

My intent isn't to turn everyone into Lovers of Christmas, but I must confess I'd like to sow seeds of wonder and curiosity in those who live in the malls this time of year filling their emptiness rather than feeling it as well as those sensitive souls just trying to survive the holidays.

I'm reminded of a brief conversation I had with an acquaintance some time ago. She and I had never spoken much at all yet as we sat on her sofa, her sweet dog between us, she revealed that she never really experienced safety growing up.  I confided neither had I.

Suddenly a light bulb came on and I heard myself exclaim, "Sensitive people are the ones who don’t feel safe and yet we are the ones so needed now.  Mother Earth and the Times need us. We don't need to hide."  I’ve cognitively known this and said it to others before but this time there was something different about this knowing.  I felt an urgency, a sense of conviction.

Sensitive souls are SO needed in this time. Mother Earth needs us. Humankind needs us, our hearts, our intuition, our sensitivity and our gifts, talents and most of all our WONDER and LOVE.  Think about it.  We are walking wonders.  Our bodies house heart beats and breath, soul, heart, spirit and mind.  

We are equipped for wonder which takes me back to this Season, the juncos and Grace.

The juncos capacity to remember that my yard is one of abundant millet helps me believe we can remember our capacity for Wonder regardless of our age and circumstance.

As a writer, I value and am intrigued by story.  I find and feel great wonder in the primary religious story of this season. Whatever your feelings about organized religion, isn't it a wonder that the story of Jesus birth in times not so unlike ours has survived 2,000 years?  The powers that were in control experienced such threat at the word of this Child born under winter’s magical sky.  This stirs my wonder as I consider how a child called the Prince of Peace became the lightning rod for such fear and hate.  Equally my wonder is stirred by the children coming to Earth at this time, Grace Children here to teach us and lead the way.  

From the small to the large, the simple to the complex, from Marcia’s fruitcake to Mother Earth allowing our presence on her body, we are surrounded by wonders. We are wonders.

I wish for you wonder and curiosity as to your soul’s story, your body, heart, senses and mind and the life you are here to live in this Time not just at Christmas but all the year through.

Pondering wonder
What stirs your wonder?
When was the last time you experienced wonder?
If you're around children, imagine and practice seeing through their eyes.
If you're not around children, be mindful of when you are around them in the grocery or the park. BE curious.
Get outside. Watch the sun and moons shifting patterns across the sky.
See the magic in things. Cultivate curiosity.  Notice the buds already on the trees and wonder about the life inside while it's cold outside.

-Dawn, The Good News Muse 17 December 2013

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