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Natural Awakenings SW PA, Greater Pittsburgh

Walking in Wonder

Jul 31, 2023 09:30AM ● By Marlaina Donato
Walking in Wonder

Before life snagged us in its insidious net of obligations, our child selves discovered awe around every bend. We poked our noses into fluffy, new dandelions and saw faces in passing clouds. “Why?” was a perpetual mantra we lived by, no doubt testing the patience of loved ones. Somewhere along the way, our eagerness to jump into the lap of the world and be held by magic gave way to a new way of being.

In 1942, Albert Einstein wrote to his old friend, German psychiatrist Otto Juliusburger, “People like you and I, though mortal of course like everyone else, do not grow old no matter how long we live. What I mean is we never cease to stand like curious children before the great Mystery into which we were born.” This quote reminds us to stop wading in the daily grind and dive into the deep end of everyday magic. 

Discovering a new musical artist, learning about a country we never heard of and touching emerald moss during a Sunday hike wakes up the child in us, the self that is impervious to pessimism. Observing a flower at ground level with the bees or reacquainting ourselves with the changing wheel of constellations not only re-sparks our ability to respond to life but also reinforces our connection to the infinite. 

Courting curiosity is the domain of cats, as well as the most contented humans. Rekindling our wonderment is even better when shared with kindred souls, and the ripple effect can travel further than we might expect. Here are some inspirations:

  • Without a set plan, get in the car with a friend and see where the day takes you. Pack a picnic and stop for lunch somewhere off the beaten path.

  • Regardless of artistic ability, begin a nature journal and record small bits of the seasons throughout the year.

  • Check out a book or two from the children’s section at the library and be young again.

  • Create a daily practice of daydreaming about something delightful that has nothing to do with the past or the future.

  • Start a local meet-up with others that share a common passion: books, healthy baking, trains or thrifting.

  • Revisit a childhood or teenage interest and don’t explain why.

Marlaina Donato is an author, painter and composer. Connect at

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