Carla Brennan's Blog

Reflections and Photos from The Big Trip and Beyond . .


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Sometime in the next few months, Chris and I will leave for our sabbatical year, or The Big Trip, as we call it. The most frequently asked question is, where will you go? Although we have a growing list of places we’d like to visit, we intentionally have not created an itinerary. We truly have a lust for wandering. The delight of seeing an unscheduled year spread out before us, like a great untouched buffet table, is immense. We will make choices day-by-day about staying or leaving and about what to do next. This allows for serendipity and for giving space to savoring discoveries. Weather, preferences, suggestions, impulses, inspirations, curiosity may direct our path. Inevitably, the world of commerce and business, of events and holidays, of responsibilities and obligations will intrude upon us. But we will attempt to minimize their impact on our wanderlust and our wonder.

Joseph Campbell famously said, “Follow your bliss.” Instead, we’ll try to “Follow our wonder.”

The daily grind – the conventional workaday world – tends to overwhelm wonder. Busy agendas, deadlines, projects, plans, and lists all clamor for attention. Pressure, exhaustion and routine dull the heart. And the simple mystery of now – of everything – fades from view like a neglected dream. With wonder comes curiosity, attention and wordless openness, all prerequisites for true mindfulness. Nature, travel and meditation evoke wonder for me and are my guides to joy and to regularly forgetting who I think I am. Wonder could be defined as “relaxed prolonged surprise” for when we are living fully and openly, the present moment is continually fresh to behold, an amazing surprise.

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
 I was a bride married to amazement.”
Mary Oliver

[I regularly use voice recognition software to transcribe hand-written notes. The mistakes it makes can be annoying but they can also be funny or revealing and even poetic. I like to pretend they hold a hidden message from the Universe. Today, several times, it wrote Ministry when I said mystery. So I take this to mean I should create a Ministry of Mystery.]

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