Wonder is the feeling in your chest when you see something new, magnificent, or awe inspiring. Your breath might catch in your throat as your eyes grow wide to take it all in. Wonder is the feeling you experience when you follow your curiosity and allow yourself to be immersed in the unknown. When was the last time you felt wonder?
Wonder enlarges our capacity to see, feel, and experience the world around us. Creativity is found in the space created by wonder as it increases our desire for and appreciation of beauty. Outlining our daily experiences with gold and revealing treasures in every corner, wonder is magic.
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
― W.B. Yeats
I remember seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time. I had seen pictures of Lady Liberty in books and I knew that my great grandparents had sailed past her through the harbor on their way to New York City, but nothing had prepared me for the sight of seeing the Statue in real life. Seeing something with my own eyes that I had only heard of or dreamed about before provoked my sense of wonder and awe. I was able to feel for a moment what it might have been like to see that beautiful beacon of arrival after a long ocean voyage. The inspiration, perspective, and beauty in that moment was profound and left a lasting impression that continued to resonate in me when I saw the Statue later.
In order to experience wonder, we have either to see things that we have never seen before or see familiar things in a new way. Whether that is visiting a new culture, or taking a new route to work in the morning, wonder is provoked by mystery and curiosity. As adults we feel the need to appear as though we know everything and we often resist situations where we would face the unknown because it can make us feel vulnerable. The danger of insulating ourselves with knowledge is that we can miss the beauty of wonder. Imagine a child going to the zoo for the first time - what wonder would be inspired by seeing a zebra's stripes or the long neck of a giraffe? Children experience wonder often because so much of the world is new to them.
Wonder is vital to the creative process because it keeps us close to a child-like perspective. Children fully embrace wonder and curiosity because they haven't learned to insulate themselves from the vulnerability of the unknown. The creativity of children is unmatched because they do not have any filters around their curiosity. There is a place of child-like wonder in each of us that can unlock creative expression beyond what we've yet seen, and can give us the fuel for a sustainable creative life.
“The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.”
― Albert Einstein
What would we find if we allowed our curiosity to lead us more often? What would we try? What adventures would we experience? What would we learn if we tried that creative expression that we are curious about but don't want to experiment with for fear of failure? What would we lose by taking more time to play?
Action: Allow your mind to ask the question, "I wonder what would happen if..." and then be willing to try some of the ideas that come to mind. Look at things backwards, upside down, inside out...the possibilities are endless! Try a new creative expression this week, the one that you've been curious about...yes that one that you are scared to try... it doesn't have to be serious or your next career move, give it a try as play and see what happens.
Emily is a creative entrepreneur, loving life in Virginia Beach, VA, by way of DEN, CLT, & NYC. As the co-founder of Bright Ideas she spends her time doing freelance photography, writing music and blogs, designing pretty web things, drinking coffee, experimentally cooking, and exploring her city. You can listen to Emily's music, follow her adventures on Instagram or Twitter, see what inspires her on Pinterest, check out her photography on Facebook, or hire her here.