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  • Rev. Susan Otey

When the Going Gets Rough, Turn to Wonder

One of the most challenging tasks for me, as someone striving to be a positive, encouraging person in our community, is consistently practicing turning to curiosity and wonder. I was first introduced to this touchstone, a way of agreeing to be together in a group, by the Courage and Renewal leaders. The touchstone from the Center for Courage and Renewal actually reads,

“When the going gets rough, turn to wonder. If you feel judgmental or defensive, ask yourself, ‘I wonder what brought her to this belief?’ ‘I wonder what he's feeling right now?’ ‘I wonder what my reaction teaches me about myself?’ Set aside judgment to listen to others — and to yourself — more deeply.”

Turning to wonder has been an important practice in my life. I have a rock on my desk with a curved arrow to symbolize turn and the word wonder. I often take it to meetings with me to remind me to live with curiosity instead of judgment. As I have practiced curiosity and wonder, I have recognized how easy it is for me to make a judgment about someone who has not had the same life experience I have had. I have seen how easy it is for me to fall back on ways of thinking that I have not re-examined in many years to see if they still work well for me and my community.

I wonder how Golden might shift and change if each of us practiced turning to curiosity and wonder. If each time you saw a political yard sign that was not your candidate, how might turning to wonder change an interaction with the person? Or how might being curious about someone who has a different understanding of masks change your connection with someone? Shifting our community to one of connection, understanding, and belonging requires work from each of us. Can we practice turning to wonder and help Golden be a more positive and encouraging place for all residents?

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