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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Maintaining a Sense of Wonder as an Adult

If you've ever watched small children when they've discovered something new--whether it's an animal they've never seen before at the zoo, a new toy or game, or watching the stars--they have such a sense of wonder about the world. 

Children's Sense of Wonder

Children tend to be open, and curious. They use their imagination to play and create fantastic new stories and just about anything seems possible to them. It's a magical time.

What Happens to that Sense of Wonder For Adults?
Have you ever wondered what happens to that sense of wonder for so many people as they get older? Some people, especially artists, are able to maintain that sense of wonder about the world and are able to use it in their creative endeavors. They still have the ability to "play," whether it's with ideas, words, or objects. But for most people, unfortunately, that sense of wonder all but disappears. Some people lose it early on, especially if they grow up in a critical environment. For others, life's disappointments take away that receptivity and curiosity about the world.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could maintain that sense of wonder throughout our lives? Well, we can--if we have the right attitude about it and keep our hearts and minds open to the many big and small wonders in every day life. Every day there are countless wonders around us, if we just take the time to notice them.

Have you ever had a day when you knew that you were going to discover something new and unexpected? Usually, when this happens, it's most likely to occur on days when you're feeling light hearted and receptive to new people, thoughts, or ideas.

On those days, you're more likely to feel intuitive and discover interesting "coincidences," like thinking about an old friend and then hearing from her, or thinking about a new idea and suddenly seeing things related to it around you, or discovering a new and interesting place unexpectedly as you walk down the street with something that fascinates or inspires you.

Are these really "coincidences" or are these things really there all the time in front of us, but we only notice them when we're receptive?

A couple of years ago, I attended a concert at Town Hall where Oleta Adams ( sang a beautiful and inspiring song called "I Hope You Dance" written by Lee Ann Womack ( I don't know what inspired this song, but as I was listening to it, I could imagine a mother singing it to her young child. The words were so uplifting.

I Hope You Dance
"I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances
But they're worth taking
Lovin' might be a mistake
But it's worth making
Don't let some hell bent heart
Leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out
Give the heavens above
More than just a passing glance

And when you get the chance to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
(Time is a real and constant motion always)
I hope you dance
(Rolling us along)
I hope you dance
(Tell me who)
I hope you dance
(Wants to look back on their youth and wonder)
(Where those years have gone)"

I hope you find inspiration in all the big and small wonders all around us.

I'm a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me:

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