The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Monday, March 11, 2013

Living with Surprise: A Life Improvement Model

It pays to be surprised, to keep yourself open to a universe of wonder all around you. As stated in Jesus Laughed: 

To live with surprise, you must be open to surprise. You must put yourself in a position to be surprised. A mind-numbing routine at work or school or even play will kill it. 

Living with an eye for surprise, you become more keenly aware of your surroundings and of others. You'll live a life more open to change, to curiosity, to outreach to others, to a glad heart and a freed mind. This world we live in today can be either a world of wonder or a world of mind-numbing routine, depending on the choices you make. You can go through life with blinders on, working your way through the daily routine and becoming perhaps slowly cynical about everything and painfully jaded about life. Or, you can be delighted by the small wonders to be found around you when you look, listen, read, and learn. With that sense of wonder, that joy of discovery, that awe awakened in your heart, you are more likely to become a lively individual eager for each new day's discoveries. Your choice.

I was reminded of this by hearing of the tardigrade recently, a.k.a. the "water bear" or "moss piglet." This teeny weeny wonder ranges in size from 0.5 mm to a whopping 1.5 mm. You have here an animal with insect-like properties of a hard shell and egg laying reproduction, a short lifespan of one to three years, and the shape of an 8-legged caterpillar. It's omnivorous, fitted with bear-like claws and a waddling locomotion that makes you think of piglets. Basically, the little guys and gals are adorable to behold. But they also can live almost anywhere, including in the hard vacuum of space. Tremendous boiling heat, outrageous cold, enormous pressure ... all are nothing to a tardigrade. They can waddle through irradiated landscapes with nary a moment's concern. They are polyextremophiles  and it may be that they are a truly unique branch of life on planet earth with no equal at all anywhere. Could they be from mini-astronauts from another planet in a galaxy far far away? Some think they could be. Any way you look at it they are worthy of our wonder.

In recent news, scientists believe now that dolphin pods have names for each of their members based on unique patterns each individual produces and others use when addressing it. There's one more feature once considered unique to humanity that may be ... well, no so unique after all. If dolphins have names for each other, do they have names for us as well. Perhaps it's best we never know.

Finally, for today's wonder raising quotient, astronomers have discovered, courtesy of the Kepler space telescope, that planets are truly everywhere. Red dwarf stars are rotten with them. There are even rogue planets that have been ejected from their own solar systems, sailing icy and free in between the stars. Fascinating.

So, my advice to you, cultivate that sense of wonder. Live in awe of the world around you. Look for discoveries to make and live a fuller life. Open your eyes ... who knows what you'll see.

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