What is that? Wait. No, wait. What is that?
There it is, a whisper in a wave-loop—begin with awe, begin with awe, begin with awe.
Begin with an awe that makes your head tilt, mouth fall open, and eyes tear. Silence your thoughts and still your heart.
Last evening, I went with our book club (a group of people with different backgrounds, careers, and socio-political views) to look at contemporary art. My partner Terry led the looking.
I wonder if they’ll go along with his suggestion to let go of being told or having to know about the artist or artwork.
He doesn’t tell us information about the artist or artwork or what it means from a critic’s point of view. Instead, he steers our gaze to an installation of thousands of thin, multi-colored, satin ribbons streaming from the ceiling to a few inches off the floor. “Experience it. Walk into it,” he suggests. We do. Later, in front of the artwork, he asks us three separate questions, one at a time, and we listen to everyone’s answers.
What do you see or notice?
What is your thought when you see that specific thing?
What do you feel when you think that thought?
One by one we said what we saw, thought, felt. I found myself immersed in looking, listening, and learning. I felt empowered and connected.
Dinner after was lively, relaxed, and warm.
So, the next morning of Inauguration Day, I took myself, that whisper reminder to begin with awe and these questions to the beach. Here’s what happened.
I notice that the waves come and go.
I ask myself, “What do you think when you see the waves come and go?”
When I see the waves come and go, I think of a string of presidents coming and going.
I think of myself coming and going.
I think of you coming and going.
I think of many waves in one sea.
I think of a wave as an aspect and expression of the sea.
I think of a president, you, and me as if we were waves in the sea.
I think of the thought of a wave coming and going.
I think of the sea as larger than any one wave.
“What do you feel when you see the waves come and go?”
When I see the waves come and go, I feel uncertain, then calm, reassured, connected, and part of all life and something greater. I feel silly wanting an old wave to stay. I feel embarrassed as if caught in a personal awareness of discriminating—don’t come new wave. I an intrigued and curious about waves in the sea.
I look out at the horizon and think about the meet up of sky and water, two very different entities.
I remember the premise of this Wonder Anew work: the problem isn’t the problem, the problem is how to work with the problem. How I work with my problem means examining the attitude I choose to live my experiences, even the uncomfortable. Put your energy into what you can say, what you can do, how the experience affects you, what you think, what perspectives hinder or help, and what you can learn. Focus on yourself, your attitude, your choices. Listen to your heart.
That’s what helps me.
This means I have to let go of how terrible it or he or she is because that kind of thinking distracts and deters my growth.
A heron lands nearby. I look at it.
A woman approaches and says, “Nice smile.”
I begin a slow walk and notice a brown pelican paddle then waddle-step ashore toward a group of royal tern, plover, piper, and raucous gulls. The sunlight changes and colors the waves coming and going from green to aqua.
The potential of “this is the best day of my life” opens.