maybe we should spend more time there.
Do you ever see a photo or image that sticks in your brain and won’t let go?
This week I came across a photo of a sign that simply stated, “Embrace Bewilderment.” Who posted those words, and why? I pondered the underlying message, and like a musical earworm, a visual earworm followed me all day.
As generally happens, that prompted an excursion down the rabbit hole of Google. Bewilderment is the quality or state of being lost, perplexed, or confused, a state of being bewildered.
We don’t seem to value confusion, yet we are often perplexed by what we see, hear, or believe. No one ever wants to admit to any of that. I’ve been guilty, more than once, of a need to be clear in my knowledge—and absolutely right.
The word “certitude” has crept up in my reading in the past month. We want yes or no answers. We often cling to “I’m right,” so you must be wrong. This dualistic thinking can contribute to our inability to see any side of an issue except our own.
What if we gave space for bewilderment? You might prefer the idea of curiosity. But isn’t curiosity the stimulus for exploring all the things we don’t fully understand?
For example, I might be confused about how the sun and moon rise and set. My curiosity pushes me out of my confusion until I discover more information and begin to see these phenomena through a new lens or point of view.
My brilliant and lovely daughter (no bias here) often reminds me of the words of Abraham Lincoln.
I do not like this man. I must get to know him.
I wonder what would happen if we leaned into our bewilderment enough to see with new eyes. Maybe that’s the sign's intent on the Johnson Creek Trail in Austin, Texas.
I rather like the possibilities “bewildered” could unearth.
When is it time to look at things differently?
My rabbit hole search also led me to a novel by Richard Powers, Bewilderment. Of course, I had to read it. The book arrives today!
Nothing better than Ella Fitzgerald crooning Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered from the 1940s Rodgers and Hart musical, Pal Joey.
There are four good things worth practicing. Being kind toward everything alive. Staying level and steady. Feeling happy for any creature anywhere that is happy. And remembering that any suffering is also yours.
― Richard Powers, Bewilderment
Find a little wonder this week and take time to embrace bewilderment.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to forward this weekly note to someone who would enjoy a few words of inspiration. And I always welcome your thoughts, so you can…
If a friend forwarded this email to you, and you want more, subscribe to receive my weekly newsletter in your inbox.
Very good, Keep going! "Be definite in everything you do and never leave unfinished thoughts in the mind. Form the habit of reaching definite decisions on all subjects. - Napoleon Hill, 1883-1970"
I like the idea of embracing bewilderment. Giving confusion a hug. It’s a bit like stepping into the unknown with curiosity rather than being held back by fear.
I recently read The Overstory by Richard Powers - a wonderful book! I’ll have to check out Bewilderment.
Perhaps you might like to join our Wednesday book chat in the Garden of Neuro this week?