I recall a time when I was a boy climbing my favorite Bayan tree at the Honolulu Zoo many years ago. Climbing “not too high” above the ground, perched on a branch was all I needed. Awesome. I felt the tree’s cool shade upon my face as I looked out into the distance. I could see waves on the beach. I could see people walking and swimming. I imagined I could see the entire world from where I sat. That was my wonder.
Wonder for wonder sake. Wonder from nothing. Much like having the timeless sense of humor: Laugh for no reason at all; laugh just because. We all wish to make a difference for others and for ourselves in this lifetime. We reinvent our sense of wonder. Having a sense of wonder makes a difference for us.
In the Final Act of “Hamlet” Horatio says goodbye to his dearest Hamlet, who had suffered “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”:
Now cracks a noble heart. Good-night, sweet prince;
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
Perhaps, Hamlet discovered his final peace, recapturing his lost sense of wonder. Wonder just because. Our rediscovered wonder need not reveal from our very last breath.
Wonder arises in the hearts of the 16- and 17-year-olds from Parkland causing the possibility of peace in our schools. They are the possibility of peace for all people. With no one left out.
Wonder arises in the midst of the #MeToo reckoning. Empowered victims of abuse now call out their assaulters. Yet, resolution of this pervasive culture won’t likely materialize in forums and additional bureaucracy. Those, who have experienced abuse, just want the abuse to stop, so that no one else suffers what they did. What will it take from us to end this?
These events represent systemic cultural flaws and infirmity. Yet, I believe that these circumstances are not greater than us. We can arise as greater than who we are.
What can I do to make a difference? How can I help alter our current culture? That’s unclear. Yet, I can take the necessary baby steps.
As Sensei, I teach discipline, honor, and compassion in the next generation of Aikido students and Senseis. I bestow Sensei Dan’s cultural legacy in Aikido. Perhaps, what Sensei taught me about matching up – awase and respect for others amidst violence or conflict fosters the possibility of honor for others.
As for wonder on my personal level: I surrender to the possibility of falling in love. I discover my own sense of wonder in the on-line dating realm. Yeah, I’m 56 years old. I had given up discovering someone many years ago.
Yet, now I wonder: Maybe, she’s somewhere out there? Not many women respond back to my online messages for whatever reasons. I’m still me. I can only do my best within my limits. Whatever the circumstance I continue to persevere, to endure, and to really have fun.
I hold the possibility of love in my heart amidst sifting through daily on-line profile recommendations. At times I get excited, “I really want to meet her!” “Wow, she does martial arts!” “Wouldn’t it be awesome to talk with her over a nice dinner?”
When it comes down to it: Match dot com is the numbers game. I’m aware of the math involved. I have to send out maybe 100 messages to get one reply. Again, I’m just speaking for me. This is my “Central Limit Theorem” of online dating. Google it, when you have a chance or not.
I accept my probabilities of online dating. I also accept the possibilities as well. The cup’s not really half full. The water lies somewhere in the middle of the glass. As Bruce Lee said, “Be like water…” Flow with the life in front of me.
I endure “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” of online dating and Match dot com for the possible upside: Falling in love. Life occurs in the lightness and darkness of the experience. Sensei Dan might have laughed and said, “Just train, Jon.” Hai, Sensei.
So I continue looking at what’s possible through my invented sense of wonder. That renewed sense of wonder frees me to be more of me. Amen. Amen.
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