I love that word.
It’s what you do when you come into contact with something or someone that is extraordinary. It evokes admiration and astonishment. It also nurtures a sense of curiosity and pure enjoyment. It means your heart is captivated and you are filled with wonder. It’s both a ‘something’ that impacts the way you see and feel, and an action that makes you pause, admire and reflect.
I’ve always carried a hunger to explore the world around me. In my earlier years, I usually attempted to cram as much as humanly possible so as not to miss out. As I’ve matured, I’ve slowed down and tempered to the utter relief of my husband. My curiosity and hunger remain however, I’ve learned (and continue to learn) how to enjoy life at a different pace.
I’m learning to marvel.
When we moved to the Netherlands two years ago, I had assumed it would be a grand adventure. Challenging, of course, but nothing I couldn’t handle. I was wrong. For the first year, I was inconsolable. From a bustling multicultural metropolitan city awake at all hours to a small town where you were lucky if you saw 3 people on the street at one time on a Friday night (I have video proof). From a rich and diverse community of family and friends to zero friends. Add to that not being able to work, a different language, a different culture and the unending grey and rainy weather … let’s just say I was unraveling ;)
There’s two types of noise that can feature as our companions. The one I had been used to in Toronto was that of external noise. The one that says, “You CANNOT stop. Pick up that phone. Fulfill your obligations. Make sure to respond NOW. Don’t forget to do this. You MUST do that.”
Then there is internal noise. This companion I was familiar with and I know her well. But without all the external noise, her decibel increased by astronomical proportions. As I battled all the internal noise and loneliness I was experiencing, there came a point where I just couldn’t listen to that voice any more.
I was hungry for a different voice.
What I discovered? There was beauty all around me and if I could just stop and let myself be captivated by it, it could offer some relief. If I could open myself up to it, to know it and be known by it, I could find some peace from all the negative voices and noises I was constantly hearing. This beauty may have looked and sounded different than what I was used to, and it may have even not been to my taste at times but it was and still is beautiful, worthy of being appreciated and precious.
See, to marvel, is to take your eyes off of yourself, off of your problems, and off of all the voices that bombard you whether external or internal. It asks you to be still, to pause, to admire and to wonder. And in that moment, it’s just you and that extraordinary vista, or that tiny bud about to burst with color, or your best friend’s laughter in full force, or how the breeze makes your curtains dance in the afternoon light.
To marvel is to be fascinated by a wonder and a beauty that transports you to another state of mind where all you can do is be captivated. This is what my heart hungers for. Not the busyness or the to-do lists but those quiet moments of awe that feed my soul, inspire my senses, and ground me again.
And this is what I hope to inspire and offer to others as we forge into a new direction at monaelisaphoto. We want to inspire you to marvel again at the beauty of nature, and the details of the world around you.
Want more? Stay up to date, connect with us and be part of our nature-loving, adventure-seeking, and obsessed with all things botanical community! Subscribe here. Or follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest.