Do you remember coming into the living room and seeing your first bicycle unwrapped and sitting by the Christmas tree—obviously left by Santa? How about your first, second or third trip to Disneyland? Or your first puppy? Or when you discovered you were really good at something?
You were so excited you could burst. Excitement, anticipation, novelty… but mostly awe. You were so awestruck that you were almost speechless except for the giggles and cheery noises you uttered.
Whatever became of that innocent, loving and simple-minded child that could see beauty and excitement for what they were: extraordinary and awe-filled intrusions into our lives of sameness and busyness. Today we totally miss these intrusions because they have become so commonplace we no longer notice them.
Yet they come to us daily. A new building arises, a park or a cool playground; electric and hydro-powered cars, robots, private enterprise flying rockets to satellites with goals of landing people on Mars in only 7 years; museums and galleries with the finest of fine art; and love… the incomprehensible knowledge that someone cares for you.
What happened? We, who used to be engaged with every marvelous moment, have become almost stale and unexcitable, unless our team wins a championship or our kid does something we believe is special.
Meaning, adventure and awe. That’s what this blog and website are all about. Oh, we can put our arms around meaning and adventure. They’re easy to explain and fun to do. But Awe—I mean, what is it? The dictionary says, “an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, fear, etc., produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful, or the like…”
Huh? What is that? See. The dictionary can’t even define the word. It’s too big, too grand, and too otherworldly. That’s it. Otherworldly. Awe is otherworldly. So unexpected, so beyond a word or set of words. It seems to hide beyond our normal sense of comprehension.
It’s a feeling, usually initiated by “something” tangible like people, art, architecture, or another feeling like love, or by our imagination. Ooh. That’s it too. Awe ignites our imagination. When you delve into the wonder of “something,” you (for a moment) are cast into that otherworldly wonder of imagination.
When you see or feel something “awesome” you ask, “Who made that and how?” “What were they thinking, or were they thinking at all?” Einstein, Ghandi, Jesus, the Buddha, Picasso, Van Gogh, Caravaggio, Rodin, Wright, Gehry, and tens of thousands of others. How about closer to home? I think of my painter friend Cynthia and writer friend Terry, both of whom you will meet on video interviews. Their work puts chills on my skin.
The Awe-Full Everyday
What about your spouse? Haha. Now I’m meddling. No really. For most of us, no matter the “state” of our marriage, there ARE wonderful expressions of love and sacrifice. There are also kids, friends, houses, cars (I love cars)…
You indeed have very common instances of wonder and awe right next to you every day. And most of us (I’m the king) don’t appreciate them until they’re gone!
To mitigate this forgetfulness, I know people who make daily “gratitude lists” to remind them of the good things they have. What if you and I were to make “Awe-Full Lists?” You know, make a list of those things that have the potential of bringing us a sense of awe but we somehow just let them slip by and before we know it, they just slip, slip away. Your list should probably be done at least monthly.
I’m considering Awe in a couple different ways: (1) Creational, and (2) Situational. And both are essential for a Life Filled with Awe. The Creational is “caught” by physical (or philosophical) things created by others, whereas the Situational is “felt” in the wonder of the everydayness of love, kindness, and sacrifice.
In addition to the photos above, (taken by me in Italy and Spain), below is one more ordinary yet, Awe-Full sights…
Stop the Slippage; Be Intentional
I know of only one way to remain Awe-Full and prevent wonder from slip, slip, slipping away—Be Intentional! I have to make a conscious choice to see and appreciate the beauty and the love that is all mine to experience every day.
Instead of offering you 5 suggestions on how to find awe I have decided to clue you in on what I do for both Creational and Situational Awe.
- I take regular trips: local, national, and international.
- I go to museums, historic parks, and landmarks.
- I read about the “fantastic.” Art books, science magazines, and science-fiction—all designed to keep my imagination active.
- I visit my artist friends regularly.
- I paint. Terribly, but I do it anyway. And sometimes I really like it.
- I write.
- I take a few moments, not frequent enough, to consider all the love my wife shows me—shopping, encouragement, tender-heartedness, genuine care about my well-being, my most favorite companion.
- My son. No words!!!
- My dearest friends and the powerful love I give and receive from them.
- My thoughts of the unimaginable which I nevertheless attempt to imagine—God.
Only three things are really required for you to discover a Life of Awe.
- A desire.
- A willingness to “go for it.”
- An ability to learn to see with the eyes of an informed child.”
So… what are you waiting for? Go discover something Awe-Full!!!