skip to a section:
It was about this time last year when Jason and I decided to make our fourth cross-country road trip.
We made the decision to drive from California (our new home) back to Florida where our families live to stay there for the month of December, from Thanksgiving through Christmas.
It was a no-brainer because road tripping is one of our favorite activities to do together. We get to see inspiring new terrains, explore new cities, and feel the adventure that the open road brings.
Beyond that, what I love about road tripping most is the tiny moments of magic and surprise that pop up along the way. It could be a beautiful, unexpected patch of wildflowers along the highway, an encouraging smile of a passing stranger at a rest stop, or a delicious meal in a delightfully obscure restaurant in a small town.
There’s this sense of delightful serendipity that I think we’re more attuned to when we’re venturing into the unknown and breaking the monotony of our ordinary daily lives.
One such memory that sticks out in my head is the evening we pulled into Taos, NM, trying to locate our Airbnb out in the middle of nowhere at the foot of these gorgeous snow-capped mountains. The sun was setting and the sky was a magnificent gradient of soft lilac with a radiant orange glow.
I remember stepping out of the car, my boots hitting the crunch of the snow (a substance that seemed alien to me as a California/Florida girl) and just staring at these awe-inspiring mountains in the distance. This feeling came over me that I honestly can’t describe, but it felt like true, other-worldly, soul-enveloping magic.
To me, it’s that feeling — that magic — and all those individual instances of beauty and awe and quiet revelry that make life, in all its mystery and complexity, so RICH.
Those moments pull me out of whatever over-analytical, anxiety-induced or mundane thought pattern I’m engaged in and they wake me up to the truly AWE-some power of the world around me. They wake me up to my own significance AND my own insignificance in one breath. At once I’m both empowered and freed.
During this time of year, a time that is often so riddled with stress and scheduling and obligations and expectations, I think we could all use a little waking up to the majesty that surrounds us.
So, this month I'm going to ask you to
Color Your Soul with WONDER.
I want you to meditate on what it means to see the world around you with childlike eyes.
Can you revel in the grandeur of the magical, mysterious forces we take for granted? Can you dig deeper, questioning the world as it’s being presented to you to get to a more meaningful, underlying truth? Can you open yourself up to the surprising hidden beauty in what you once thought to be ordinary?
These are the things I want you to consider in your journey through "Wonderland" this month, and you can do so through these three sub-themes: AWE, CURIOSITY, and DELIGHT.
wonder is awe.
Awe is such a hard quality to define, but to me it's a feeling of being enveloped by something greater than yourself. It's a sense of transcendence beyond your normal perception. It's an expansion. Awe has the power to make us feel transformed, and it enriches our soul with a deep sense of appreciation for the sheer magnitude of beauty there is to experience.
Wonder through awe is about seeking out experiences that are mind and heart-expanding. Whether it's through a physical encounter -- like at the foot of those mountains in Taos that I described -- or whether it's through an artistic encounter, an emotional encounter or a spiritual encounter. I've had moments of awe listening to a beautiful cello player, listening to a spiritual teacher on a podcast expand my understanding of what God might mean, and watching an emotional performance of a double-amputee dancing a contemporary routine on prosthetic legs. These moments of awe exist all around us if we know what to look for.
wonder is curiosity.
Curiosity has to be one of my favorite human qualities, one that I believe to be deeply rooted in my own core identity. There is SO much about the world, ourselves, and other people that we DON'T know (much more than we DO know, I'm sure), and rather than fear that unknown, we might find that there is an abundance of beauty, knowledge, understanding and peace waiting for us if we would only find the courage to ask the right questions.
Wonder through curiosity is about questioning every aspect of our own perceptions in order to unearth the juicy, more truthful bits that ultimately lie beneath every aspect of our lives. Whether it's wondering about HOW something works, wondering WHY we find ourselves in certain repetitive patterns, wondering WHO wrote that favorite quote we keep in the back of our heads... curiosity will ultimately always lead us to a more interesting and more evolved reality.
wonder is delight.
If awe is about bringing our attention to things that feel extra-ordinary, delight to me is about bringing a surprising new perspective to things that we might consider ordinary. It's seeing the ultra-familiar through an unfamiliar and beautiful new lens, the way you might see a toddler delightfully grinning at a mirror or a bubble with sheer MAGIC in their eyes.
Wonder through delight is about approaching our daily routines with a fresh pair of eyes and an open heart. Especially during a season that already carries so much intrinsic magic, it's about stepping outside the hustle and bustle of the busy end-of-year hype to look for the tiny moments of joy and pleasure.
I know there's probably a part of you that's half stressing about tying up end of year loose ends and part of you that's half worrying about what 2017 will bring and how to prepare for that unknown.
This issue is about taking time away from those worries and anxieties and paying attention to the soul-stirring wonder that is available to us whenever we want it.
I LOVED trying to channel my own experiences with wonder into the visuals and insights in this issue, and I hope they serve as catalysts for your own wonder-filled thoughts all month long.