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Connecting with Wonder

Jordan Ferranto, LCPC, ATR

There have been many times in my life that I have fallen into the trap of overextension. In my work and training as a therapist, burnout is something we are endlessly cautioned about. During one of my final classes in my graduate school career, one of my professors commented on this very topic. She rightfully observed the ways in which burnout was in fact alive and well among our fidgeting bodies and scattered minds. Her response is one that will always stick with me. She simply asked, “What happens when you stop?”.

My professor went on to elaborate on the necessity of slowing down, taking a pause, checking in with yourself, etc. But what stood out among the somewhat generic pieces of advice she and many others offer was her suggestion to reconnect with a sense of wonder. She proceeded to assign us the task of finding something that brings us a sense of wonder and then she instructed us to bring that experience back to the rest of our classmates. The result was a series of mini field trips to public sculptures, old fashioned donut shops, and art installations.

I often reflect on this assignment. Wonder is about the possibility, magic, surprise, novelty, newness, amazement, curiosity, intrigue. It keeps us asking questions and pushes us to pursue things that astonish us. Wonder helps us break out of tired patterns and reawakens our zest for life. I often experience wonder as a way to transcend myself to connect with a broader sense of awareness or consciousness.

During this time of social distancing and quarantine, which comes with this sort of forceful and unforgiving pause or disrupt, I’d like to assign each of you the same task. Find something that helps you connect with wonder. If you have some difficulty with this, I will offer one potential source of wonder.

Imogen Heap discusses her use of Mi Mu gloves as a way to combine expressive movement/gestures with musical performance. The result is nothing short of magical. You can watch her explain and demo this at 9:15 of this VIDEO. I strongly encourage you to watch with headphones on.

Take the time to notice what brings you this sense of wonder. What does it do to you? What does it change for you? How can this support you during this unprecedented and painful time? How can you bring this to others in your life?

Engaging with wonder can help us answer questions that come to us during times of uncertainty. Questions such as: What’s the point? Why do I even bother? Is it even worth it? Perhaps remembering wonder can move you through these questions and into a place of meaning, intention, inspiration, comfort, or even peace.

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