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What are you thinking?

Notes from Anythink's director

“It is not understanding that destroys wonder, it is familiarity.” 
– John Stuart Mill, 1865

The regular transactions of our lives have a way of taking over and becoming the norm: getting the kids dressed, fed and off to school; grocery shopping; making sure the car is maintained and has enough gas; going through an onslaught of emails; politics and the 24-hour news cycle.

And every once in awhile, something occurs that is magical. Adventures can be as small as taking time to see what is just around the corner. I recently attended a meeting in Washington, D.C. I took a couple minutes out of my day to walk to the Renwick Gallery, which is just a block or so from the White House. They recently completed a $30 million renovation, opening the gallery with the exhibit Wonder. There are nine installations of artworks curated to inspire, create a sense of wonder, and connect us with a sense of joy. Throughout the exhibit there are quotes defining wonder:

“The only reason for bringing together works of art in a public place is that…they produce in us a kind of exalted happiness. For a moment there is a clearing in the jungle: we pass on refreshed with our capacity for life increased and with some memory of the sky.” – Kenneth Clark, 1954

Taking a step out of my way, away from the freezing-cold D.C. storm, I stood still in the gallery gleeful as a child wanting to touch the woven sticks that resembled life-sized haystack baskets or the string prism of light that was like being in the midst of a rainbow.  

Taking these few moments to pause and reflect reminded me of things that always inspire my wonder:

  • No matter how many times I look west at our mountains, a peaceful admiration slows my breathing and brings a sense of gratitude.
  • Despite the fact that I almost always wear black or grey, I am drawn to color. Driving across our plains with the golden haystack yellows meeting the calm blue horizon makes me want to be a poet-painter.
  • Watching the curiosity of children as they come to know the world. The writer Walter Dean Myers noted that we should call children our most precious gifts to the culture,  and our utmost responsibility is the care for these gifts.

Taking a moment to experience wonder can fill us with amazement and awe. What makes you feel wonder? Let us know at or post in the comments below.