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Life of Awe

Be Curious and Explore Your “Explorer”

August 31, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 2 Comments

“Stand in as many pairs of shoes as you can manage, even ones you consider reprehensible or repulsive — even if it’s just for a moment. If you’re going to be a tourist, be a respectful one. Observe, report, imagine, invent, have fun…” Ben Folds

On my most recent donor trips to Uganda, I traveled with one of our guests, Anna. Anna is a 24-year-old nurse that works in a hospital Emergency Room and is about to enter her first year of medical school to become a physician. The pressure common to an ER nurse allows her a lot of time off, which she devotes to world travel. Anna’s greatest fear in life is boredom. She hungers for new learning experiences and meeting new people.
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Irreligious Sacraments

June 29, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

A SACRAMENT is when something holy happens. It is transparent time, time you can see through to something deep inside time. Frederick Buechner

Moments.

I believe in special moments in which we are transported from this world to the next. These are the flashes of time in which we get to experience what I (and others) call “the holy.” And most of the time these moments come as a surprise because they are most usually ordinary and quite common. I refer to these moments as sacraments.
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Before the Joy—Pain

April 20, 2019 by Charlie Hedges − 5 Comments

“He [Carl Jung] understood that the full journey towards wholeness must always include the negative experiences (the “cross”) that we usually reject.” Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ

How do I write about this day without sounding like a preacher? How do I tell a story of the “good news” without getting into the darkness that precedes it? And how do I tell the story of the darkness without sounding like a wild man on a street corner screaming hellfire and damnation?
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What Makes You Wealthy?

December 8, 2018 by Charlie Hedges − 2 Comments

Attention without feeling, I began to learn, is only a report. An openness — an empathy — was necessary if the attention was to matter. Mary Oliver

It’s a warm So Cal winter’s day in early December. We just had two or three days of very heavy and much needed rain leaving the air bright and crystal clear. I sit at my favorite spot for writing blogs—the Montage Hotel lobby in Laguna Beach. From my seat I have a view a large fireplace, a huge Christmas tree, and in the background out the window is a magnificent scene of the Pacific Ocean.
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Wonder: A Most Primitive Need

November 24, 2018 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand.” Neil Armstrong

We enter the world hungry. Not just for sustenance, but also for a host of primitive needs like love, knowledge, and wisdom. Included in this list of basic needs is the need for awe and Wonder.
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Get Lost and Get Wise

November 17, 2018 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” Henry David Thoreau

I was having breakfast at my favorite Saturday morning hotel when I fell into a discussion with my regular 26-year-old server. Let’s call him Brady. Brady is lost, a quite common place to be at the pivotal age of 26, when one thinks he should be on the path to success and wealth.
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From the Archives: The Pleasure of “Finding Things Out”

July 28, 2018 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“It is imperative,” wrote Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman“to have uncertainty as a fundamental part of your inner nature.”

Richard Feynman recognized early in life the special, distinctive feeling of being close to the edge of knowledge, where people do not know the answers. He held curiosity and uncertainty at the center of his intellectual and creative life.

Curiosity Can Lead to Odd Behavior

To say that Feynman (1919-1988) was a bit of an oddball is most certainly an understatement. Along with his brilliant achievements as a physicist (including the integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, as well as assisting in the development of the atomic bomb) he dabbled in dozens of creative and entertaining endeavors—a truly admirable hero to those of us driven by curiosity.

Feynman consistently tested the frontiers of his own competence by teaching himself a wide and wild array of skills, always romancing the intoxicating uncertainty of not-quite knowing. Knowing nothing about drawing, he taught himself to make perfect freehand circles on the blackboard; He taught himself how to write Chinese. He taught himself how to force everything from his field of vision except for his research problem of the moment. Lastly he taught himself how to live with cancer, and then how to surrender to it.

There is also the story that has become part of physics lore. A young Feynman grew bored in the remote New Mexico desert while working on the atomic bomb during World War II. He amused himself by learning to pick the combination locks in the supposedly secure filing cabinets containing America’s nuclear secrets. Frustrated administrators of the project changed to more secure locks and, as you might guess, Feynman picked those locks as well—all for the fun of it.

No One Really Knows–That What makes it Fun

Feynman is the poster child for the delight of toying with curiosity and uncertainty. In my research of Feynman on curiosity and uncertainty I came upon this statement by Carl Sagan. For me, his comments are essential for the truly curious person to remain open-minded, resting on the value of uncertainty and the humility to admit no one human has a lock on truth.

“If we ever reach the point where we think we thoroughly understand who we are and where we came from,” Carl Sagan wrote, “we will have failed.” Perhaps because, as Krista Tippett has observed, science and religion “ask different kinds of questions altogether, probing and illuminating in ways neither could alone.”

Sagan’s and Tippett’s comments are appropriate not only for religion and science, but also for all human knowledge as we know it. For me, except for the inexplicable power of Love, everything we know is subject to review, reconsideration, and quite possibly change.

Scary? What’s there to lose in the art of learning?

Radical Open-Mindedness

A Most Lonely Option

Photo courtesy of ClaudioVentrella at istockphoto

IMPORTANT NOTE: Parts of this post have been directly lifted from Maria Popova of Brainpickings.

Wonder: A Most Primitive Need

July 21, 2018 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to understand.” Neil Armstrong

We enter the world hungry. Not just for sustenance, but also for a host of primitive needs like love, knowledge, and wisdom. Included in this list of basic needs is the need for awe and Wonder.
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Leisurely Fruitful

July 7, 2018 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

What we do during our working hours determines what we have; what we do in our leisure hours determines what we are. George Eastman

Today I slept until 10:00 AM.

Well… actually I did the same thing yesterday and mostly likely the day before that. And you know what? There is this guilty little voice that tries to remind me of how lazy I must be to wake up so late in the morning. Although, that voice doesn’t belong to me anymore. I think it is most likely remnants of that old voice that comes from our highly productive, goal-oriented culture.
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The Fall of Your Life

April 29, 2018 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Fall. B. C. Forbes

Although it may seem counterintuitive but you need a Fall in your life. Although I do believe times of despair and falling are indeed essential, that is not the topic today. Today I am arguing for the reintroduction of the season of Fall in your life.
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