Five Ways to Experience Childlike Wonder This Summer
“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” ~ Henry James
Tomorrow is the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. To honor this longest day of the year and the official start of summer, I wanted to share some tips for filling your summer with wonder.
If you haven't already gathered from my previous posts, I'm pretty passionate about how awe and wonder can help benefit our social and emotional wellbeing, our quality of life, and even our health. Not only that, but awe helps inspire us to be more compassionate, caring, generous, and giving. And in our world today, we could sure use more of those qualities! To read more on why I think wonder is so important, especially for these times, check out my previous posts: Why the World Needs More Wonder: Part One and Part Two as well as the article, Does Awe Increase Altruism? If you're already convinced, then let's get to it!
1. Get Outside
“Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty.” ~ John Ruskin
I invite you to pause for a moment and imagine that you just landed on Planet Earth after having lived your whole life in a space suit on Mars. What would that be like? Really allow yourself to contemplate this. After living a life saturated in browns, reds, and grays as far as the eye can see, what would it be like to see the richness of colors we get to experience here on Earth? After living on an empty, bleak planet, what would Earth, which is just bursting with life, feel like? What would it be like to experience, witness, and get to know the vast diversity of life forms on this planet? And after living in a sterile space suite, what would it be like to smell, taste, feel, and listen to life on this planet? Sometimes we forget that we are blessed beyond measure with the incomprehensible beauty of the planet we all call home!
So why not celebrate this gorgeousness? Go for walks, hikes, swims, camping trips, or travel adventures! Sit out under large trees and listen to the wind rustling the leaves as the patterns of sunlight and shadows dance on the grass. Allow your senses to soak it all up! Not only are there many health benefits, being in nature can unlock inspiration and creativity. If you aren't able to go outside, I suggest curling up to watch Planet Earth or other great nature films. Those never cease to amaze me!
“The human venture depends absolutely on this quality of awe and reverence and joy in the Earth and all that lives and grows upon the Earth. As soon as we isolate ourselves from these currents of life and from the profound mood that these engender within us, then our basic life-satisfactions are diminished.” ~ Thomas Berry
The natural world is the larger sacred community to which we belong. To be alienated from this community is to become destitute in all that makes us human. To damage this community is to diminish our own existence. ~ Thomas Berry
2. Change Your Perspective
“Watching the infinite horizons gives you infinite dreams, infinite ideas, infinite paths!” ~ Mehmet Murat ildan
An excellent way to induce wonder is to change your perspective. Sitting on a mountain ledge overlooking a vast horizon always brings me to a contemplative space. It can really help to put problems into perspective and remind us that we share this planet with so many other humans, each one dealing with