I’m Jeffrey Willius, proprietor of the One Man’s Wonder blog, author of Under The Wild Ginger: A Simple Guide to the Wisdom of Wonder…and five-year-old at heart.
My journey of awakening and personal expansion
Of course, my parents were my original guides, teaching me and showing me by example how to see myself, others and the world. But there was one phase of my life—when I was a young teenager—that I credit with the roots of my spiritual evolution.
I was always catching myself deep in thought, pondering my own and the world’s weighty questions, wondering why I never felt quite as happy as I believed I should be. I concluded, strangely enough, that my problem was thinking too much.
I didn’t realize the significance of that judgment at the time—in fact, I feared there might be something wrong with me—but it’s proven a watershed on my journey.
It’s been difficult, coming as I have from a strong, northern European work ethic, to embrace the notion that happiness and the realization of some of those universal truths has less to do with trying hard, keeping my nose to the grindstone, than it does with actually letting go of all those expectations and just being still, being aware…just being.
Despite all I’ve heard about mystics and ascetics and their arduous, inscrutable quests for truth, it seems ironic—or does it makes perfect sense?—that I’ve come to this point in my evolving being without the slightest effort.
My Positive Life Changes
Of course, that over-thinking realization is and always will be a work-in-progress, but it’s already taught me some pretty helpful things.
One is how utterly empty things can be—things like words, events, goals and accomplishments—and how rich the pauses, the spaces, between those things so often prove to be.
A good example of this, I’ve found, is the eloquence of simple presence. No matter how much one might expect the right words or some kind of right action when giving of oneself, in the end it’s the simple act of being there that’s the gift—the perfectly thoughtful, always appropriate, most generous gift.
Other examples include how pauses in conversation—those lulls that tend to make us uncomfortable—so often prove fertile for reflection, rich in meaning, and how simple patience can be the key to experiencing wonder.
Realizing these simple yet profound things has helped me to be a more thoughtful, patient, caring man. It’s helped me to be a better husband, father, grandfather and friend. And it’s made me a better witness to the boundless wonder of this life, this breathtakingly beautiful world.
My Next Steps as an Evolving Being
I intend to keep learning more about love and the surrender it requires. I still find it hard to shake the illusion of control so deeply engrained in me by my northern European upbringing, my formal education and many of my role models.
The result is that I’ve short-changed many people in my life because of my self-consciousness and single-mindedness. One of them is myself.
Just as I’ve been able to sharpen/deepen my awareness of, and curiosity about, Nature, I want to better apply those same capacities toward people—my children and grandchildren, my wife, my friends and, I would hope, even total strangers.
I hope to continue writing, certainly in my blog, One Man’s Wonder, and, with luck, in another book or two. I will be open, especially, to any opportunity to connect with young children and their parents about the vital—and increasingly threatened—connection between kids and Nature.
My Advice to Others
- Don’t think too much.
- Happiness and wonder are our natural state. Searching for them is unnecessary. We already possess them and, given time, space and attention, they emerge on their own.
- What we see and sense is pretty much what we expect.
- We so often fret and fight trying to make good things happen, when all that was necessary in the first place was to let go of expectation and simply LET them happen.
- What goes around comes around.
- Life can be difficult, painful and discouraging but, in the end, we are good, other people are good, Nature is good and life is good. And, perhaps most important of all, we, they and it are all connected.