Awe can be spontaneous! Sometimes, awe needs a little nudge.
The pandemic and other global concerns have impacted our sense of awe and renewal as travel, socializing, and meeting face-to-face to celebrate special occasions have been curtailed.
However, I believe we can experience renewal with daily doses of intentionally cultivated awe. Over the past few years, I have actually found more time to be “awesome”. A strange paradox.
I have uncovered some practical ways to cultivate awe in my life. Here are some ideas that might work for you.
Awesome reading! On a daily basis, search for and read awe-inspiring stories:
- A biography or a novel: Did you know that reading novels develops our empathy for others? I LOVE women’s biographies – especially prior to the 21st Century. There is nothing more awesome and inspiring than reading about women who, in spite of their social challenges, lived their lives in order to make life better for future generations and to contribute to our humanity. Family sagas bind the generations.
- A scientific discovery: Space, human and animal behaviour, plant life, the brain, genetics, archeology, robots, climate change. Do you remember the awe of learning about these topics in grade/primary school?
- A blog post: Amintro’s GET SOCIAL MAGAZINE is a great source of inspiration with a wide variety of articles.
- A news story: There are many inspiring stories beyond the fear and drama of current events. A word of caution: Avoid negative or clickbait headlines. Avoid celebrity success stories or celebrity drama. Avoid anything that competes with or distracts from the awe-some-ness of your life.
Curate your “go-to” sources as you find stories that trigger genuine awe: websites, journals, blogs. Look for stories that illustrate a sense of vastness (physically, psychologically, and emotionally) and that alter your understanding of the world and your place in it.
Awesome writing! I block a few minutes early in my day to cultivate awe to combat the “low rumble of discontent” that can seep in when I feel life is too hard or when I don’t feel joyful.
- Scan your memories for awesome experiences. Something you witnessed, read about, or an event in which you took an active role.
- Consider the ways in which you experienced the vastness. Was it physical, psychological, emotional, a combination, or all three?
- Relive and feel the awe of your experiences by describing as much detail as possible. What did you see, hear, smell, taste, feel? How did you respond? What did you learn? How did you change? Open your vocabulary to awesome words that expand and intensify your experience (have a dictionary and thesaurus handy). Be in the presence of awe.
Awesome tripping! Depending on where you live (or work), take as little as 30 minutes daily. Awesome tripping is about being in nature; about noticing the natural state of things around you, including the landscape, the weather, the subtle and powerful changing of the seasons.
- Go for a walk, sit in a park or sit in a neighbourhood playground. Sit on a swing. Swings are not just for kids. Take a photo to share with children in your life. This is how we share our awesome self.
- Go for a drive, a bus ride, a train ride. Have an adventure. Visit a museum or an art gallery, or simply stand outside your home or pause for a long look out a window.
Even viewing nature virtually—through photos, paintings, videos, etc.— can create awe. If you cannot get outside and experience nature “in person”, experience nature virtually. Here’s the research on interactive VR environments for inducing the “chills and goosebumps” of awe.
Awesome time tripping! My favorite. Take a visual trip through your own photo collection and consciously appreciate your life. This can be an awesome experience as you appreciate the magic of your body, your mind, your spirit, and your experiences.
- Choose a favourite childhood photo of yourself and consciously revel in the wonder of how that little person has grown into the awesome person that you are today.
- Time-trip to your favourite vacation locations. A time-trip to a Caribbean island immediately gives me a feeling of renewal as I relive moments of awe with all my senses:
- a total black-out in St. Martin. All I could hear was the chirp of birds and insects. I felt like I could reach out and touch the stars.
- a catamaran ride on the Atlantic with waves rolling 20 feet high. I felt fear, adrenaline, and the wonder of the ocean’s force.
Awe is a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear and wonder. Awe transcends our sense of Self, our history, and our place in the world. Awe contributes to our curiosity, courage, and inspiration to move forward to do great things.
Your turn. How will you intentionally cultivate awe in your life?
“Take care of yourself. Do What’s BEST for You. Don’t jeopardize what you have built for yourself.” Stanley Wicketts, father of Patricia A. Muir
Written by Patricia A. Muir, Maestro Quality Inc., THRIVE
Patricia’s signature program “THRIVE After 60” validates women’s choices and amplifies their voices as they remain professional active after 60 and beyond. Visit her website at https://www.patriciamuir.com/