Dahn, one of the women that I traveled to India with a couple of years ago, told me I had a childlike sense of wonder.
I remember when she said it.
We were in Bolpur and I was looking at a huge hand woven covered basket used to store grain. I had never seen anything like it and I wanted to know more. How it was made, how long had the people in this village been creating and using such containers.
But my interest wasn’t only intellectual. When I looked at the giant covered basket, I felt a sense of awe yet it was also somehow familiar. A wave of nostalgia hit me, like it was something I had once known.
At another point in my life I would have taken Dahn’s words as an insult.
Growing up I was taught that “curiosity killed the cat.” For some reason to be curious or questioning was seen as a feminine attribute, which was inherently inferior and weak minded.
So I learned to suppress my sense of wonder.
But suppressing my curious mind and heart created a longing in me that was unfulfillable. Not being able to express all that I witnessed dulled my eyes, so I forgot how to see.
I had some friends along the way who understood and appreciated my wonder. Some moments of stepping though the doorway into who I really was and being able to transform my experience of the wonders I encountered, into something tangible that was satisfying to me.
But mostly, I was quiet.
That changed when I met Jon and witnessed his curiosity. I had finally met someone who wasn’t afraid to admit he didn’t know something. Someone who believed that smart, creative and interesting people were naturally curious.
Jon not only accepted, but delighted in my sense of wonder about the world around me.
Now I live in that space on the other side of the doorway. I not only allow, but depend on my curiosity to keep me wondering, to keep my eyes wide open to see what’s in front of them. Now, through my art and my blog, I have a way of expressing what I see and feel and of being fulfilled by it.
My new fabric painting “What Do You Wonder” is about embracing, honoring and acting on our sense of wonder.
It’s a reminder to see and be curious about the tiniest, most insignificant seeming thing that’s right in front of us. As Socrates (the philosopher not the snail) said, “Wisdom beings in Wonder.”
You can read more about my process making “What Are You Wondering” here.