My favorite book of all time is A Sense of Wonder by Rachel Carson. Carson tells the story of exploring the Maine coast with her nephew. The photographs tell a story of wonder, awe, mystery, and love. Carson taught me early on that having a sense of wonder, or what I sometimes call “Maximum Curiosity” is a guide for so many aspects of life.
Carson writes: “A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full or wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later year…the alienation from the sources of our strength.”
In a workshop last week, I encouraged the participants to have maximum curiosity and a bold sense of wonder about their own strengths and the strengths of their colleagues. I encouraged them to consider that Carson’s “a sense of wonder so indestructible” is not just for nature walks with children but for workplaces, communities, and home life.
They learned about each other’s strengths with fresh eyes just by adding a sense of wonder and curiosity to their conversations.
When Carson explored the stars, tide pools, and forests of Maine with her nephew Roger, she did not focus on naming everything she saw. Clearly, she could have made it an ID lesson as she was a master naturalist. Instead, she just let Roger look, feel, and experience the darkest nights, the creatures crawling, the waves splashing on his face and the soft earth below his bare toes. She calls on us all of us to explore with wonder. She adds, “it is not half so important to know as to feel.”
As you approach this new month, consider:
- Where could you have a sense of wonder?
- What would maximum curiosity look like in your relationships?
- How will this sense of wonder make you feel?
This summer I had the joy of being with my brother on Lake Champlain in Vermont. As the sun set, we stood in wonder at the beauty of the lake. We’ve done this literally hundreds of times together from childhood to adulthood. When we share wonder together, there is comfort, joy, and endless possibilities.
I hope as you unleash your wonder, you will discover how a “sense of wonder” can give you a new lens on the world.