At certain moments, I start to feel like this clam. Clamped shut, closed for business, knee-deep in a field of tidal muck that stretches into the visible distance.
That’s when I turn to my handy short list of self-excavation tools. It’s amazing how much even a change of position can shift your perspective. It also helps to say hello in a Focusing way to something in me that feels overwhelmed or stuck.
But then what? I’ve moved, I’ve said hello…but what if I don’t have time to sit down and Focus? Today I want to share with you a strategy you can use anywhere, anytime, in any company. It is quick. It is startlingly effective. And it will put you into the curious, open attitude of Focusing, even if you’ve never studied Focusing.
It has two parts: a sound, and two words.
The sound is “Hmmm…..”
The two words are, “I wonder….”
That’s it. You make the sound “Hmmmm….then you say, “I wonder….”…then you fill in the blank:
- “Hmmm…I wonder what would happen if I set a timer and tried to finish this draft in 15 minutes….”
- “Hmmm…I wonder if there’s some other way to look at this….”
- “Hmmm…I wonder…what materials do I want to cover in this class, to be able to look back on it and say, “YES!”
I love these “wonder questions,” as Gay Hendricks calls them. If you are built sensitive, moving into wonder is a paradigm shift away from the rumination and worry your deep-thinking brain can get into. The future is not yet known. Anything can happen, and you are free to wonder what you’d like to happen, not just what something in you is afraid will happen.
Which brings me to another reason I love wonder questions: they are are intensely creative. You can’t fill in the blank after “I wonder….” without coming up with a possibility. Just be careful with “why” questions: If you are truly curious, as in “Hmm….I wonder why this latch is sticking?” then “why” questions are OK. On the other hand, wonderings like, “I wonder why I’m such a loser?” will make you feel worse (why? because you are starting with the assumption you are a loser!)
Broadening my horizons
Look at the skyline in this photo. That’s the horizon of possibility. When I focus on the clam and the mud, the horizon is blurry. When I move into a state of wonder, I become aware of the big sky in the background and the world of possibilities beyond my muddy tidal flat.
Wonder primes my deep-thinking sensitive brain to come up with creative solutions. It functions like the wormhole in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, taking me at the speed of light into a new universe of possibilities.
But as I said, there is a prerequisite: you have to be willing to not know—to truly, completely have no clue at all. I find a sly humor in that: our vast embodied wisdom is fully accessible only when we cheerfully admit we are clueless!
Speaking of being clueless: exciting news
For weeks now I’ve been accumulating a list of article topics that need more space and depth than the shorter format of my typical weekly Listening Post article. And I’ve had persistent visions of making videos about Focusing and sensitivity. But I had NO CLUE how I could possibly fit all that in on top of everything I’m already doing—until I remembered to ask wonder questions!
In two weeks of wondering, my horizon of possibility expanded to include what I think is an elegant solution: a new Listening Post publication schedule. Starting this month, I will send you two Listening Post issues a month instead of four, with an article arriving on the first Tuesday of the month and a video on the third Tuesday.
This way, if an article topic wants more depth, I can expand to give it that. And there’s a lot I can explain or convey in video that can’t be captured in print, so the video will balance and synergize with the written content you’ve valued here in the Listening Post.
I look forward to your feedback as this unfolds…
Much gratitude to Kaitlyn for another evocative photograph (firstname.lastname@example.org)