You can change or stay the same; there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it.
And I hope you see things that startle you.
I hope you feel things you never felt before.
I hope you meet people with a different point of view.
Benjamin Button (Movie voice over; letter to his daughter)
Have you noticed how susceptible you are to things that bring you a sense of awe—like sunsets, Christmas lights, puppies, art, fabulous architecture, landscapes, and so on? Do you recall how much joy and excitement you get when you see it or feel it? How the marvel of it goes right to your core, almost making you a different kind of person for that moment?
Oohlala, the feeling is magical! And yet… have you also noticed that you very rarely actively seek out such life-engaging moments? You (and I) just kind of hang around the ordinariness of the ordinary and then get surprised or startled by something awesome somewhat accidentally?!
Well, I noticed. A couple of years ago…
Yea, a couple years ago I went to Italy. My life has never been the same. One shocking, startling, stunning moment after moment. The place is magically “awe”full!!!
There Are No Rules for Awe
There are no rules for awe. You can find it anywhere you like, anytime you want, and in any form you are predisposed to admire something. No, there are no rules to how, where or when you find awe.
You just do it. Find it. And allow yourself the freedom of mind and soul to be totally taken aback by the wonder you are witnessing.
What Prevents You from Feelings of Awe
If awe is so cool and so easy to find—it is easy to find!!! Why does is it seem that so many of us neglect this most wonderful of human emotions? Here’s a list of a few ”awe-killers.”
- We’re too busy. We’re either “on the go” or “on the couch.” When we’re on the go we can get “stuck” by getting there, being there, and leaving there so we can be on the go again. And when we’re on the couch we find ourselves locked into whatever is on that worthless and opportunity-devouring device called TV.
- We’re too focused on being productive. Our personal productivity can give us a sense of awe—especially when it’s creative productivity—otherwise productivity is just a way to keep our minds from wandering and dreaming about the very cool things we want to be and do. Things that will bring us awe.
- We’re blinded to the presence of things that will bring us awe right now. The awe that comes from Love! We like to be more concerned with the problem our spouses or partners give us than the awesomeness of the love they offer. Our children. OMG. NOTHING can take me to another dimension of awesome love than the very thought or presence of my son!
Awe: An Act of Intentionality
I’ve come to the conclusion that there are two simple ways to be in awe regularly: 1) being startled or stunned by something unexpectedly, or 2) being an active “awe-watcher.”
That leaves you with two sets of mind that will bring you ultimate pleasure almost daily:
- Be ready to be surprised: In the Bible there’s a Parable of the Lamps where 12 women were told to be ready for a surprise party, but they would need lamps. Six were ready because they had purchased the necessary oil to burn their lamps and six others were not ready—they had lamps but no oil, so they missed the party.
In Italy Pam and I were ready. Boy were we ready. One can’t help it in Italy. It’s the kind of place that every time you turn your head you see something incredible.
It was the same with Spain this year. [NOTE: After Italy Pam and I made a pact to save up each year to go some place that could startle us.] No rules. We kinda knew what we were going to do, but each day’s activities were full of surprises.
- Be intentional: You gotta be on the lookout. When you’re driving in a new place look for that rare old barn or that unique building. You can even schedule time on your calendar to find moments of awe. Check out how my “to do” list might look like if I actually “scheduled moments of awe”…
2. Do coaching at Funco, Inc.
3. On the way there be sure to check out the building at 4th and Grand
4. On the way home take the coastal route and check out the ocean
5. Start writing my weekly blog
6. Stop writing at 5:30 to check out sunset
One thing I learned in Spain and Italy is that there is beauty everywhere I go. I just have to open my eyes. I have to be on the lookout in case I pass it and miss it.
So tell us. Where do you get your regular dose of awe?