Bewunderung—Keeping Your Sense of Wonder Alive

There’s a German word I really love: Bewunderung. It’s commonly translate as ‘admiration’, but that doesn’t quite capture the full meaning of the word. In this episode, I talk about the art of keeping and cultivating a sense of wonder about life, and the people in your life.

[00:00:00] SE: You know, a word that I really like in German is before. Which in English would translate as to admire, but in Meyer is not a word that does anything, but is to be wonder, right.
[00:00:15] To be wondered by another human being, which can translate to, I mean, it does translate to the similar, exact same notion as admiring somebody, but I find it beautiful that it is the word wonder. Right because there is something about keeping a sense of wonder for the world, but more specifically keeping a sense of wonder for the people in our lives.
[00:00:47] And one of the trickiest parts about relationships is that as they become more intimate and as we feel, we know that person really, really well. And as our dance of relationship, [00:01:00] the way our dynamics, the way we function together, our rhythms, our ways of relating our ways of experiencing things together.
[00:01:09] Get into a rhythm and a groove over the years. We can lose our sense of wonder about the other person. And we can start having a sense of knowing of familiarity. I know Rameen, this is how Rameen things. This are how Rameen feels. This is what Romina is going to do. And there’s nothing to wander about anymore.
[00:01:32] Rameen is a known quantity. And that too, a big part is the beginning of the end of relationships. Right? That’s when relationships are not being watered anymore. Not get enough sunlight and they can continue to grow and evolve. They start dying slowly because they are only held by old nutrients right there.
[00:01:52] Help.
[00:01:53] RA: And we almost like we don’t, we don’t interact with the actual person anymore, but with our [00:02:00] image and perceptional or ideal for that person. Right. And then. That person also feels it Right. So they also kind of give you that back and they, and you almost like they can, that can have a self fulfilling prophecy kind of effect, right?
[00:02:15] SE: creates a situation where I also am not my whole self anymore or comfortably changing or showing you new sides of me because you want to see and already feel familiar and comfortable with a version of me. And I know that you like that version of me. So I’m feeding you that word. And I’m hiding other versions away from you, which then makes me feel more and more dead, less and less seen less than less recognized by you.
[00:02:47] And that can be the, that is the beginning of the end. And often times people that we thought we knew so well, That we thought we knew in and out. I mean, it relationships all the time [00:03:00] like this, you know, this husband and has been married. He’s been married for 20 years and he knows his wife she’s this way.
[00:03:05] And she likes that and she dislikes that. And then she has an affair with somebody in X, completely is a completely different person. And that person that had an affair with her meets the husband. They don’t know. That they are talking about the same woman and they could be telling each other one about his wife, the other one about his affair, and think they talk about completely different woman, but acted totally different.
[00:03:28] And there’s nothing that would indicate that it’s the same woman. What did, what made that happen? How did that magic happen? Now? The husband could think selfishly and her in under. Framework, this terrible woman, this liar, she’s deceived me, my whole life. Look with me. She pretended to be one way. And then she goes off with this other man and is a completely different way and in a much better way than what.
[00:03:59] Right. [00:04:00] Much more exciting way. And the guy that’s in an affair with her might selfishly and arrogantly think, look, the stupid husband, he got, he made her this, you know, unhappy, simple, boring person, but I made her flower and make her amazing. And both of them are right and wrong right. In so many ways. But it goes back to, we can be so many different people and.
[00:04:27] Sometimes we’re just comfortable to be a different type of person with a new person in a new environment, regardless, we will live our entire lives, never. And as long as we stay open, we will never stop stumbling over new versions of ourselves. We will never stop evolving and changing and rediscovering who we really are, who we are now or who we are becoming.
[00:04:54] So if we can. Keep a sense of wonder [00:05:00] about the people in our lives about our relationships and keep looking at the people that are closest to us with fresh eyes with open eyes, open heart, with curiosity with ha I wonder what else, who else you can be an are and have been, then we could live our whole life.
[00:05:23] And never get bored with somebody, never get used to somebody, never stop. Having fun, never have stopped being on our toes and feeling like, oh, I don’t know if you know, this person still enjoys me or this person still thinks I’m exciting. Or while I, I don’t know if I like that new version of this person, like the center.
[00:05:45] Refreshment, like keeping that relationship really alive and growing and flowing and evolving through decades and decades and decades. But we have relationships that developed for a number of years and then had a very long [00:06:00] and steady death. And we’ve all had that with. Oftentimes as well, where you had a friendship in your twenties and it was amazing.
[00:06:07] And you still consider these people friends today, but all that’s alive is a memory of decades old. And today there’s really not much. And when you meet with these people, you become your 20 year old version, you become a little bit more like you used to be then. And they become a little bit more like they used to be then, and you reenact an old memory.
[00:06:27] That’s comfortable, but nothing about it. Really enlivening. It doesn’t feel energizing. It doesn’t feel true. And you don’t see them today anymore, maybe because you don’t want to, you only see them as an older copy of exactly the person you already know and you want to know, and these relationships are dead, right?
[00:06:48] I mean, they’re never fulfilling. They’re not filling you up. It’s always, you want to, you want to feel more. Nurtured by it when you meet these people. And you’re [00:07:00] always slightly disappointed at how this meal that used to be so yummy and fill you up so much, you.
[00:07:08] RA: Yeah,
[00:07:08] SE: And it was such, you know, excitement, but you’re still kind of hungry.
[00:07:13] It didn’t, it didn’t do the trick anymore. It’s just not as tasty. It didn’t fill you up because it’s not a life today anymore. It’s not a relationship of today. You haven’t kept it alive. You’re not rekindling. And I love the admiration. Doesn’t speak to that at all. But the as a word and to. At Meyer and also be wondering and curious about all the people in your life, especially the people, you know, best is such a powerful way to have more alive, more blessing, more gifting, more fulfilling [00:08:00] relationships.
[00:08:02] And also it creates a kind of space where you can be more fully, who you really are more comfortably, uh, changing, evolving, trying new things out sometimes as we stumbled into these new places in life, and we start discovering, oh, maybe I want to open up a little bit and talk more about my feelings with my friends.
[00:08:26] I don’t know exactly what that version of Steli will feel like how far that’s going to go. Who do I test this with? Who do I try this on with? If I can’t feel comfortable doing this with the people I love the most, that now limits it so drastic. I have to travel somewhere. You know, I’m being a hostel to meet some random people to try this.
[00:08:46] That’s kind of tough, right? You can do that when you’re 19 or something, but you know, when you’re in your thirties or forties, it’s tough to do that, to go travel, to be a different person. So what a blessing when you get. Try out, different new [00:09:00] things open up in, in very, in ways that might change again soon.
[00:09:06] But with the people that you love the most, and they keep having an open, curious, edited about you, go what? I didn’t realize Rameen do you like this type of thing? That’s shocking. Wow. You know, I want to know more. And then when maybe a month later, you, I don’t like this anymore. There’s no judgment.
[00:09:22] There’s a wall, but you, but now, already also bought the book. There’s a, oh cool. Like what changed? Like a, I love you, no matter what, and I want to keep learning about you. I want to keep understanding you better and I will realize. That there is no, I know Rameen case closed. I know him in and out and I don’t need to look anymore because I already know him with closed eyes.
[00:09:47] I know him better than he knows himself. I know exactly how it feels and what he does. That’s not something to brag about. That’s actually something to be sad about because it’s not true. It can never be true. And if it is true, if you can go, [00:10:00] no, but look, I can prove it for the next year. I can exactly tell you, my friend will say yes, you know me so well.
[00:10:05] I exactly do. What you’re describing is a relationship that’s dead. It’s a relationship, or maybe also a person at a given time that is holding onto an older version of themselves because it’s comfortable because other people are telling them that it’s a good version of themselves, but this is not how real life works.
[00:10:23] This is not how people really are. They’re not stuck in a version that’s finished and just stays the same year over year. It’s just never going to happen. I was talking to.
[00:10:36] RA: it’s like a, like a tree that has like the exact same leaves at the exact same time every, every year, you know? Nope.
[00:10:43] SE: it’s not going to happen. This is not, this is not, this is not possible in life. And whenever people go, ah, now I figured it out. I’ve done that. Magic mushroom retreat session. And I discovered I am not the way I thought I was I in this [00:11:00] totally different way. And now, now everything makes sense. Oh my God.
[00:11:04] If people could only also take mushrooms and understand,
[00:11:07] RA: the truth.
[00:11:08] SE: the truth, the final answer. Oh my God. I always, I always go. I have bad news for you. I’ve good news and bad news. The good news is what you described. Sounds beautiful. Amazing. Just enjoy every little bit of it. Well, what does the bad news?
[00:11:22] Well, you know, I, in my experience, this is not the end, my friend, this is a new beginning. And maybe in one year, maybe in seven, you will have another moment where you go, oh my God. I thought back then I knew who I was, but now, and this will never stop. And it’s not a tragedy. It’s a blessing. Don’t think about this.
[00:11:45] What is more full, more. Tasty more stimulating, richer as an experience. If somebody told you you’re going to be born and then in year one, everything about you will be [00:12:00] set, click, click, click, click, click, we’ll set the settings. You walk this fast, you move this way, you’ll eat this stuff, you like that stuff.
[00:12:07] And then for the next 40 years, whatever you was that day, you just keep doing, being that and doing that for 40, 60, 90 years. And then you fall over and the battery’s empty. Or every day almost you could be something new, add something, subtract something, evolve, discover like a beautiful, magical dance that changes colors that changes forms.
[00:12:35] Stretches that contracts and you’ll discover yourself and through yourself, the world are new again and again, and again, and again, it’s only limited by your ability to jump off the cliff, to open up freely, to say yes, to be curious, to take risk, to fail and make mistakes and evolve in [00:13:00] changing ways that you don’t like.
[00:13:01] So you have to move back. But it’s unlimited. You could live a thousand lives in one life. If you want it, or just one life, what would you choose? Right. And that’s what it is. And that same thing is true for the people in our lives. Do you want to love one person? All of one person. Well over a thousand people incarnated by one person or like one person in a thousand different ways, because you’ve seen the evolution of a thousand different versions and lives of this person.
[00:13:34] And we’re there. Therefore all of it, not just for the one. What is more like what is a longer richer crazier life? I mean, it’s obvious. So seeing that as a blessing, as an enrichment of the experience of life, versus as a tragedy, as a like, no, no, no, no, no. I need to know who I am, and then I need to know who everybody else is.
[00:13:56] And these things need to be set in stone because how can I [00:14:00] find certainty in life? How could I ever trust anybody or myself? How can I make plans? How can I say things to people? How can I feel familiar? Like I know this, I know these things, and it’s the thing that makes you feel connected and familiar is not going to be the, the, the layers of the.
[00:14:21] It’s going to be connect connection to the core of the audience, right? Like when you’re connected to the heart of these people, if they evolve in terms of what, you know, they loved beer, but now they’re into wine. They now go do a lot of sport, but then they were super into literature or they, whatever stuff has changed in their personality that were very focused, career, money, money, money, and then they changed in their like really spirituality.
[00:14:46] And then they changed into something else over. That doesn’t mean that there are a different solar, different heart at the core, we all are who we were at birth almost. I, and I keep remembering this and I see this [00:15:00] in my children and it’s something I still have to accept about myself when I, when we did, uh, a sailing trip for a week with my brother for his 40th birthday and his friends, and some childhood friends that I known and, and family members and cousins, one of the.
[00:15:17] Not cousin. He’s the son of my, um, my godfather and godmother, but he’s like a childhood friend of ours when he was on the, when he came on the boat and he hadn’t seen six of us in decades. Right. But he knew all of us from childhood. And when he got on the boat and he looked at us all, he sat down and we all had wine and we’re chatting and we’re laughing and we’re having dinner.
[00:15:43] And at some point he turns around and looks at all of us. Motherfuckers you all, like, you all think you’ve grown and changed and you’re now your families. If you have children and a car and a business and things, a [00:16:00] gray hair and no hair and tattoos and big, strong, and a little fat. But I see you. I see all of you and you are exactly who you were when you were children, your spirit, your hearts have not changed at all.
[00:16:16] I see you. I see you. And it’s so clear. You have not changed a bit in your heart, in your spirit, you all, who you were like, and I love y’all for it. And there’s something too about that. We are, we are born with a certain spirit and heart and all of course, we change in many, many little detailed ways, but there’s a core that’s always going to be there.
[00:16:34] And if you know what your core is, if you are self knowledge is not reliant on the surface area of your life. I am a business entrepreneur. Person that likes Ferrari’s and does yoga and is a vegan. That’s who I am. If that’s who you are, you change vegan to something else. And now your world is collapsing.
[00:16:55] You don’t know who this person is anymore, but this is who you are at your core at a much, [00:17:00] much deeper core. This something that’s you. That is unchanging. And then there’s the beauty of life that you can add or subtract millions of layers and be millions of different ways and change and shape and stretch.
[00:17:14] And if you know the core of the people you love and you know, your own core, then you’re at home. There, there is your family Arity, you don’t need to know. You don’t need to try to make life predictable. The people predictable yourself, predictable. You know, you kind of get a little surprise. Of course, it’s good to have some consistency and not get schizophrenia, but you, you are familiar because you’re connected to their.
[00:17:40] And then it’s like not threatening when somebody changes something about the surface area of who they are now, or the phase of life they’re going through now that might not be going into parallel tracks with your current phase of life. Oh. These things are not threatening any more than[00:18:00]
[00:18:06] that the, I read this one. Yeah. You can tell how open your heart is, but the amount of wonder that you feel in a given day, like when your heart is open, you will be wowed. You will be like, feel the wonder of life. The wonder of these little things. That’s also part of what I loved about the book Zorba.
[00:18:30] When he sees these things like a bird and he has. He has the all and wonder of a person that has lived 60 years in a country without Burts and sees the first bird in his life. Never seen a picture of it is just like, what is this creature that jumps up? You know, flies into the end air. What is it and why, why does it exist?
[00:18:52] What is the meaning of a bird? There’s some so such beauty in being able to have that. And you see that in [00:19:00] children because children discover things for the first time and they have that, oh my God, what is this thing? Wonderment?
[00:19:09] RA: And they have the capacity to, to enjoy and be wandered and amazed about something again and again and again and again, where we’re kind of as, you know, growing up sometimes going to alright. Alright. You spit 10 times now. No, no wonder no one is that amazing anymore.
[00:19:26] SE: saying this, uh, for many, many years where I thought children are so much better about having fun because they. And limited fund with the same thing versus adults. We go after the third time. Fun, fun ends fund is expiring. It’s not sophisticated to have fun five times with the same joke that this dumb it is not smart.
[00:19:45] It’s like, this is so dumb. Like we’re so like we’re throwing away all the fun enough to like one usage would children can like get usage for days about the same thing is sometimes weeks and months. It is the, the, the openness of heart. Like if your heart is fully open, you will be [00:20:00] amazed and in awe about.
[00:20:02] Again, and again, and again and again, because a life is amazing. People are incredible. Just everything about life is something that you put you in a state of complete awe. It’s not because we close our heart. And we shift our energy attention and the center of gravity of our lives completely to our minds.
[00:20:23] And my minds girls have seen this before. I’ve seen this before. I’ve seen this before. I’ve seen this proven not relevant right now. Not relevant, not relevant, Tom, not interesting, not expensive, not important. Not this, not that,
[00:20:34] RA: I’ve tasted this before in a better version. This is kind of not this is a seven I’ve already tried a 10. I shouldn’t be too impressed. Shouldn’t enjoy this too
[00:20:41] SE: This is really amazing. But if you overdo it, then other people will laugh at you.
[00:20:45] So just keep it to yourself and like, That’s the mines business all day long, but when the heart is open, we can be truly discovering life in a rebirth way every day. Cause light [00:21:00] like even like, see, and I’ve had this oftentimes with animals where I’ll look at an elephant or a picture of a tiger or a picture of a shark.
[00:21:11] And I go, if I had never seen this before, And you show this to me, it would blow my mind. This looks like nothing that belongs on this planet. An octopus are you shitting me?
[00:21:26] RA: do it. You have all these deep sea creatures. I mean, you can look at The, non yet. Wait, this is real
[00:21:31] SE: thing. This can’t be from earth, but you could, you could do this with everyday items. Like a squirrel. You look at the scroll, you go, what the fuck are you? What is this, this huge fluffy like tail and like how you move. And this is amazing. You just have to have an open heart to rediscover life.
[00:21:54] And it’s so beautiful to think about the people in our lives as a [00:22:00] source of wonder, and to when we see. To be admiring them from a place of being be wondered or whatever, like a big window to be like, wow. The wonder of Rameen the wonder of who he is, how he feels, how he communicates what he’s given me, how he’s blessed me, but also how is he changing?
[00:22:21] What is new? What becomes fresh? What is an old idea I’m still holding onto? That’s not Rameen anymore. Right? At the, the other day I had a thought about. Something I’ll keep this very cryptic. I had a thought about something related to you, me doing something and how you would respond to it. And then I thought, oh, maybe I shouldn’t do this because Rameen might not like this.
[00:22:48] And then I thought my first reaction was like, fuck, Rameen do whatever you want and let’s just get him. He can go fuck himself. And then it took me a little bit. And then. [00:23:00] Well, which remained would not like this, you know, first of all, it could just, just be Rameen and Sally’s head, which is sometimes Rameen outside, but, oftentimes
[00:23:12] RA: Right. It’s very calibrated. It’s variable to calibrate.
[00:23:15] SE: not, but also
[00:23:17] RA: Yep.
[00:23:17] SE: I’m like, is this remain and still his mind off today, like remain to today. And so his mind was this Rameen four years ago. And then I thought, yeah, Rameen has changed a lot. This is an old version of Rameen that I’m thinking about here. Like this, I’m not, maybe it would be this way.
[00:23:36] Maybe not. Maybe he’d never been this way, but Mo the reason I have this version of this like action hero figure version of Rameen to look at it is because of things that happened many years ago, not of how we are now. And some like, so maybe this version is just old and needs to be. Like in a place to look at as like a, an old thing to [00:24:00] admire, but the new remain version in my head even is not the way and even better when there’s no remain version in my head.
[00:24:06] And I just experienced remain in real life, like out there in Bangkok. Um, so staying open and being curious to get to know each other again and again and again, you know, That’s such a beautiful thing. And I, I didn’t think about it this way. I never thought about it that way. Not with friends, not with my family and I, as my mother’s age, I’ve been telling people more and more.
[00:24:37] You’re going to get to relearn who your parents are every decade or so you’re gonna be like, oh, now I know where my parents are when you’re like 20, and then you’re in your thirties. And you’re like, oh, no, My parents also this way and have these faults and have these things that are actually good that I didn’t know.
[00:24:54] And then you’re in your forties and you start again, you have your own children and then probably when you have your grandchildren, you’re going to be in your [00:25:00] sixties. No, my parents are there. You re rediscover them a new again and again, and again, it’s the same for friends for coworkers. And this is an area where never thought about this as your intimate partners, because we all know one of them.
[00:25:18] The one of the deadliest things we all do with our partners is taking them for granted, knowing them being kind of so comfortable, you don’t pay attention anymore. You just kinda know who they are and what they feel like. They kind of know who you are, what you feel like, and you stop being there. You stop being in awe and wonder about discovering this person.
[00:25:37] And then you go, I don’t feel anything anymore. And that person doesn’t feel anything anymore. And we feel like total strangers. And what happens. And it’s like that step by step by step,
[00:25:49] RA: Yeah.
[00:25:50] SE: we stopped rediscovering each other and really seeing who we are becoming and being, instead of just holding onto the version we got to know for like a year.
[00:25:58] And if you think about it, when you [00:26:00] start dating somebody. package everything and you want to know everything and you just, and you’re much more open and are sometimes much more forgiving. And just like, I want to know who is this? Tell me everything about you. You know, you’re so excited to become the adventurer in the, you know, the really discover this new land, this,
[00:26:19] RA: And then you lay up.
[00:26:21] SE: And then after year two, you just don’t give a shit about this anymore. You’re just like, ah, whatever. I followed this under known quantities in my life.
[00:26:31] RA: Yeah.
[00:26:32] yeah. And it’s also so, easy to, like, there will be moments where, you know, that person. Surprises you like, wow, this is, this is awesome. Right. And there will be moments where you’re like, yeah, I knew it. Yeah, of course. Right. And then it’s funny sometimes how the mind can curate these in memory and kind of, you know, blur the memories of the times where they surprised you and amazed you.
[00:26:59] [00:27:00] But half like the 3d. Ultra large sized high definition version of the OEI in you again again, man. And, uh, like it’s a.
[00:27:12] SE: so here’s something that I have been noticing for weeks, if not months about you, but only in this conversation. Did it fully come into the foreground and I can capsulate it in a sentence, a new fact about you that I now can experience much more consciously, which is that. So often when I’m rambling about an idea, I run with like a little bit of a picture and I like talk about it in circles and make it bigger and smaller.
[00:27:43] Once I’ve ended with my little ramble about that one note that we just discovered a plate you come in and oftentimes you actually make a. Very picturesque metaphor of it. Oh, this is like a tree where every year the, [00:28:00] uh, you know, the, the, the, um, uh, the leaves grow in the exact same way. Well, this is like a.
[00:28:08] Visual you give me, do you do a visual summary? You create a picture of what I just said. It’s very powerful and beautiful and I’ve been noticing it, but it was just a tiny step behind my full consciousness. And now it’s stepped to the front and I go, that’s super cool that he does it.
[00:28:27] RA: Can I have It’s
[00:28:27] SE: dope that you do it.
[00:28:28] It’s dope that you can do it because I oftentimes, when I write, I really. I am not, you know, a lot of reading when I read a lot of reading, a lot of great writing is putting things in pictures, like describing the same thing, but in a new way. And oftentimes it’s, he felt blah, blah, blah. It was like, duh, duh, duh.
[00:28:48] Right. It’s like giving an example from a totally Debbie. It was like a piece of wood in his ass or something, you know, like, so something that makes it physical and real, you know, and I’ve been thinking that I don’t, I don’t [00:29:00] know if I do this. But in writing, it actually is not something I do naturally.
[00:29:06] And now I know this, you do that, like, almost you want to do is, is so consistently where I finished my point and you sit there and silently go, it’s like an Eagle who, you know, it’s flying and then you just say it really beautifully. And I go, yeah, he’s right. It is like a duh, but I’ve never, I’ve never noticed that now I led, I mean, I’m kind of excited that I fully discovered this.
[00:29:32] Now I’m the car. I’m going to pay more attention to how you do this and what you do with it.

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