Sunday, July 27, 2008

Restoring a Sense of Wonder

“God make me receptive and aware; restore me to my capacity for wonder. ”

Children of an alcoholic learn to expect disappointment. Joy is not a natural emotion for us. Fear is. Apprehension is. A compulsive drive for perfection is a way many children of alcoholics deal with life. If we are only perfect enough, our homes perfect enough, then we will be rewarded with some measure of peace. Wrong.

Serenity is only achieved when we live as little children. With a sense of expectation and wonder. I remember being six years old and my dad driving our family on one of the original highways, Interstate 5, south through Orange County. Driving past orange groves and strawberry fields- seeing the mighty mountain in the distance: the Matterhorn at Disneyland. I thought it was the tallest mountain in the world. Now, one can barely spot the faux Matterhorn from the freeway. It is hidden from view by the buildings that have sprung around it.

But there is a garden that I sometimes go to for a short hike when I want to have my sense of childlike wonder restored- the Conejo Valley Botanic Garden.

This 33 acres of parkland includes opportunities for hiking, grand vistas and learning close up beauty in water wise plantings. But best of all, enjoying the Kids Adventure Garden will bring out the childlike capacity for wonder in even the most jaded adult.

The Garden is located in the heart of Thousand Oaks, adjacent to the Conejo Community Park(Hendrix Ave. at Dover Ave). For more infomation go to


Anonymous said...

I shared with a friend who has all the traits you listed. Her father was an alcoholic. Her childhood was miserable. Thanks for that.


Lydia said...

Send a hug to your friend.
Here's a book recommendation for her: Dennis Prager's "Happiness is a Serious Problem". It taught me how to let go of perfection- which is the enemy of the two most important values for a relationship to flourish- love and respect.

Loving Annie said...

Good Tuesday evening to you, Lydia.

I haven't been there, but any beautifully done garden can restore my sense of wonder...

I've always wanted to see the famous ones in England and France, and I suspect right here at home in the U.S. there are some amazing ones too :)

Do you prefer shade gardens or sun gardens ?

I was surprised when I saw your mention of Sam Maloof the woodworker on your profile - my parents have several of his tables and chairs ! (now 30 - 40 years old)

We live within 60 miles of each other, I think :) I am in southern Orange County.
I think the earthquake was felt by a lot of people - my parents felt it too, and they live in west L.A. !

I don't know many alcoholics, but the ones I do know have black belts in disappointing people...

They abandon themselves and others to such repetitive heartbreak.

It's hard to overcome that, and so good when you can...

Lydia said...

I love all gardens. I love the stories behind how they evolved and the enthusiasm of the people who create and tend to them.
My heroine is Jenny Butchart- who lived with a cement quarry in her backyard- and created one of the most beautiful gardens in the world.
In Orange County- I love the Sherman Gardens and Library- it has such a unique personality and sense of place.
I gave some thought to if I should give life to the angle of the story as it bared a part of my life which was largely hidden. In the end, the decision was that my privacy was not as important as the lesson that pain can be left behind. While my father did not choose to, alcoholics can recover. And so can the people who love them.

Bessings to You