This is from Reverb10.
I ponder the question, how did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? And I think, off the top of my head, that I didn't.
This year was a year of ups and downs for me. Incredible ups. Intense downs.
I started the year with such joy and hope and excitement. I was going to be involved with four theatrical productions, possibly more. I was going to have two shows produced that I had written. I was unemployed but with a sense that things would be okay, I would be provided for and my soul would be fed and I would be okay. My faith was strong. My joy complete.
The first project of the year. Working with friends. Writing a show out of the blue - so three written works produced! - and having a blast, and making money doing what I love. The wonder of that experience just happened. I didn't go out of my way to cultivate it. I just experienced it and revelled in the love of it.
Working with children in a homeless shelter. I wondered, in a different way, at their lives. The fact they would use the microwave on the toy kitchen and not the stove or oven. They would use a toy phone but not talk to each other. Again I didn't cultivate a sense of wonder, and it wasn't a sense of wonder in the way I suspect is meant by the question I am pondering.
Then we started rehearsals for the second theatrical project of the year. A play I wrote. A character I loved. A process that was just fun, just playing with friends. A wonder I felt at the joy and the fun and the play. This wasn't work. It was sheer enjoyment of being alive. It was wonderous. And then the show was cancelled - postponed - cancelled. Three days into rehearsal. Anger warred with disappointment warred with resentment and more anger. Fury. Rage.
The other two shows I was supposed to be a part of were cancelled too. Both my plays now unproduced sitting in drawers where I couldn't see them.
More anger. More rage. Much more resentment.
Unemployment again but this time without the sense that I would be provided for. Without a sense of purpose. I felt lost and drifting. Inexplicable anger, misdirected at those I love instead of those people, and forces, I was angry with. No wonder, unless you count wondering why I was so angry and upset and sad and dark. And then it was just numb and apathetic.
We got a puppy, at first a minor distraction and then a reason to get up in the morning because she needed me to. It probably saved me. Even if it also showed me the darkest pools of rage, brought a great fear into myself because how could I be so angry with a little baby, innocent of ill intent, to the edge of hurting her but at least I could stop myself from crossing that line. And I was feeling something again. Even if it wasn't wonder or joy.
A patch of light. Visiting home for a few weeks. Nothing to do but no pressure to do anything. I couldn't find work here, I was a visitor. And then a spot of interest, a chance to take matters into my own hands, Arbonne was a chance to make money and have some aspect of life come back, and so I took it and floundered.
I realized there was no balance. Either all focus was on writing, or acting, or Arbonne, or socializing, or finding work, or playing games. When doing one the others vanished. I realized this was what I actually wanted - balance - all aspects of a whole life showing themselves at once. More than riches or fame or success. Balance would be nice.
I put myself out there. I get work. I wonder at how the pieces are suddenly falling into place for me. What happened? What was I lacking all summer, why is there light now where there was darkness, why hope where there was despair, why joy where there was an endless hole of anger? And the anger is still there, simmering. But it's not at the top anymore. It's progress. Or at least pleasant. I have time with friends. Work with money. Arbonne appointments. Family visits. Love. Auditions. A writing class. A welcoming congregation. Life is full of wonder and joy again.
Life throws some curve balls. I lose my job. Arbonne falls to the background, people say no, they don't want to hear what I'm doing. We can't go home for Christmas. The dog is being a little shit. The church is full of lies. The audition is a bust, writer's block surfaces.
And I hear a man speak about resentment circling down to resistance circling down to revenge. About the foundational stories that provide cracks and leaks and lies in the houses that are our lives. About how to identify those stories and change them and begin to heal. To let go of resentment. To let go of the lies and find our way to Balance. True abundance in every aspect of our lives.
And I let go of resentments I've held since the spring. Since the shows vanished along with my joy. I begin the life-long process of replacing lies with Truth, of reprogramming the voices in my head, of finding Balance with a capital B.
People still say no to Arbonne but for some reason I feel that it's a gentle Not Now from Him. I don't know why but I am okay. Moments of despair instead of weeks of darkness. A chance to speak blessings into the lives of hundreds of people every day, people who may not know what I'm doing but for whom I hope it makes a difference anyway. A Joe Job transformed into a chance for Light to triumph. A dog who is still being a shit but instead of unfathomable anger I find patience and an acknowledgement that she is there to teach me as much as I am there to guide her on the path to Good Dog. Writer's block dissipates. Auditions still a bust but that's okay too. It's about more than that, a bigger picture, a life of joy and abundance instead of panic and lacking.
New friendships grow out of unexpected places. Chances to share a faith that is unconventional at best. To share a joy and a peace and a gratefulness without labels or limitations. Old friendships revitalized once my resistance was thrown away. Joy in the hiccups of an unborn baby.
I am finding my sense of wonder again and for that I am so, so grateful. If that is what the summer was for. For me to appreciate the Light again once I began to find it. Then I am slowly growing grateful for the summer as well.