Noun: A feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.
Verb: Desire or be curious to know something.
Synonyms: noun. marvel – miracle – prodigy – astonishment – amazement verb. marvel
Recently I had the extreme pleasure of gathering with some of the Cosmic Cowgirl tribe in person. It was a whole-hearted weekend full of such things as inspiration, fun, aha moments, emotional connection and creativity.
One part of our weekend’s explorations together was to discuss our developing Cosmic language. After various sessions of heart-storming, prior to the weekend long gathering, a list of words has developed. They are as follows: wonder, identity, creativity, perspective, heart, courage (awareness), embodiment (manifestation), play, transformation, mystery, legend (legacy), revolution, community and last but not least the overarching concept of sparkle.
Here is a photo of the beautiful rendition of the exploration that Shiloh McCloud diagramed for us.
Our time together included some journaling on various words and seeing what came up for us. We were also asked to ponder and remain aware if there were any words with which we currently identified with more strongly. I knew that my attention was drawn to the center of the diagram where the word “wonder” was written. When we were asked to write down some thoughts regarding wonder this is what came to me:
The beginning of a heart beat.
The birth of a child.
Holding a hand.
The smell of a rose.
A favorite flavor.
The emotional life of animals.
My fascination with wonder seem to fit in with how I have been viewing the world through a lens I can only describe as “Wow” or as Shiloh wrote on the diagram next to the word wonder “the awe ha!”
When I began my list with “the beginning of a heart beat” I was actually recalling a documentary called In the Womb by National Geographic. During the show they show and tell the audience just how and when a heart begins. I was left in wonder about the amazing nature of our bodies and how we humans begin. If you want to see for yourself a brief part of the video I have included it below and you can watch the particular portion I mention if you fast forward to 5:20 and watch until 5:57. Here also is written form of the narration that describes what might be considered a miracle of nature:
“One of the first organs to form is the heart. Until now the tiny clump of heart cells, about the size of a poppy seed, have been still, but after 22 days a single cell stirs, as if jolted to life. This tiny movement sparks a chain reaction and other cells in the cluster pick up the rhythm. Incredibly, they all begin to beat in perfect unison. The new cells divide, dance to the same beat and will grow to form the embryo’s heart.”
My mind, and heart, is also in awe of our universe. This image to the right is from the Hubble Telescope and has been nicknamed The Galactic Rose. If you have never really explored the images from the Hubble telescope I encourage you to do so. The images are amazing. Here is where you can locate the Hubble web site: http://hubblesite.org/the_telescope/
When I gaze at such photos taken in deep space I am in awe. I experience feelings and thoughts that encompass and contemplate being humble, miniscule, and yet also expansive and connected. In the scheme of how grand the universe is we are a speck in the dark night sky. We are these tiny bunches of cells and molecules that are alive and running around on the surface of planet Earth. Dr. Seuss even contemplated such a state of being in his classic Horton Hears a Who.
|Star Woman painting by Michelle Fairchild
The fascination with the stars also connects with the amazing fact that we humans are really made of cosmic stardust and this really isn’t just some California “woo woo” idea. The late astronomer Carl Sagan once stated “The surface of the earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean… Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return. And we can. Because the cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” What he knew when he made that remark is that the same elements that make up the stars in our universe are the very same elements that came together to create our planet and our very bodies.
According to Chris Impey, professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona, “Carbon, nitrogen and oxygen atoms in our bodies, as well as atoms of all other heavy elements, were created in previous generations of stars over 4.5 billion years ago. Because humans and every other animal — as well as most of the matter on Earth — contain these elements, we are literally made of star stuff.”
Here again is a beautiful video I shared just last week. Listen to Astrophysicist Dr. Neil DeGrasse, and understand why he feels big, not small, as part of the universe. Something we should all remember when we feel alone, insignificant, or disconnected. This video is a result of when he was asked by TIME magazine, “What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the Universe?” This is his answer.
The Most Astounding Fact from Max Schlickenmeyer on Vimeo.
Then there is water. When I read the book Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel by Jeannette Walls I was intrigued to read the following section about water. I loved how she so poetically explores the amazing, and almost magical qualities and history of water.
|Photo by Michelle Fairchild
“Sometimes over supper, when Jim got home after a storm, the kids would describe their escapades in the water and mud, and Jim would recount his vast store of water lore and water history. Once the world was nothing but water, he explained, and you wouldn’t think to look at us, but human beings were mostly water. The miraculous thing about water, he said, was that it never came to an end. All the water on the earth had been here since the beginning of time, it has just moved around from rivers and lakes and oceans to clouds and rain and puddles and then sunk through the soil to underground streams, to springs and wells, where it got drunk by people and animals and went back to rivers and lakes and ocean.
The water you kids were playing in, he said, had probably been to Africa and the North Pole. Genghis Khan or Saint Peter or even Jesus himself might have drunk it. Cleopatra might have bathed in it. Crazy Horse might have watered his pony with it. Sometimes water was liquid. Sometimes it was rock hard—ice. Sometimes it was soft—snow. Sometimes it was visible, but weightless—clouds. And sometimes it was completely invisible—vapor—floating up into the sky like the souls of dead people. There was nothing like water in the world, Jim said. It made the desert bloom but also turned rich bottomland into swamp. Without it we’d die, but it could also kill us, and that was why we loved it, even craved it, but also feared it. Never take water for granted, Jim said. Always cherish it. Always beware of it.”
What comes to you when you contemplate the word “Wonder?”
What makes you think or say WOW?
What leaves you in awe?
One more thing that also leaves me in awe is the emotional lives of animals that share our planet. There are actually many books written on the subject.
I am frequently so touched and moved by photographs of animals that portray their obvious connections to one another. I have always been drawn to animals, but it wasn’t until recent years that I really, really began to see them. Have you ever really stopped and considered that animals bodies have organs and bodies that in many regards are much like our own. The have hearts, lungs, brains and blood. They are born and they die, just like we humans.
It was partly my awe and wonder in regards to my four-legged, feathered and finned friends that led me to adopt a vegan diet about four years ago.
Lastly, for your enjoyment, a beautiful song by Miten and Deva Premal called Inarticulate Heart. The lyrics include the words “I am a soul in wonder.”