beautiful-starry-night-sky-fashionplaceface-com-nlhuDi-quoteWhen I look at the night sky and am present, I am flooded, opened, and transformed by awe.  Praising awe: I am deeply touched, life is full, I am part of something larger, glorious, mysterious.  It is a rich and nourishes my soul and spirit.  I love it. 

It doesn’t even necessarily need to be something grand that inspires awe, although those certainly do.  It can also happen when I am present and look carIMG_4177efully at a flower, a tree, deeply into someone’s eyes.  Music can also do it.

My habitual modes of multitasking, being distracted or judgmental, are sure ways of preventing me from dropping, or opening, into awe.  Good to notice, eh?  Life is richer, fuller, the possibilities of being touched and opened, deepened and nourished are enhanced when I pay attention and am aware in and of the present moment.  Doesn’t mean I always will be.  I wish.  It’s just further motivation to turn in this direction.

Remember I said above, “I love it” — being touched by awe.  Well, I have recently learned that “Awe loves me”:-)
Let’s back up just a bit.  What exactly IS awe?  Definitions are along the lines of “a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.”  Or “great respect, sometimes mixed with fear or surprise.”  I don’t think the exact definition matters much.  I think we all know awe when we feel it.  I love it when I’m overtaken by something — such as awe, or joy, or love.  The surprise is a treasure part of it.  Fear doesn’t feature so large for me.  (Definitely not talking about the Shock and Awe sort of stuff!) For me, Mystery and Wonder fit better.

IMG_5291People have been busy exploring the subject of Awe.  There are a number of studies showing that the human experience of awe has therapeutic and health benefits.

Here are a few explorations for your consideration.

The Greater Good Science folks at Berkeley have devoted part of their recent newsletter to the topic The Benefits of Feeling Awe

4 Ways a Sense of Awe Benefits Your Life.

It’s good for Relationships.

Savor the “World’s Collection of Awe” !

A psychological approach:  All About Awe.

How Awe sharpens our brains.

And one more.  The Huffington Post also talks about Awe Inspiring Experiences.  I really like this one.

You can continue to immerse yourself if you like, it’s easy, and fun, and inspiring.   In case you don’t choose to follow the links, some of the effects and benefits attributed to experiencing awe include: fostering kindness and connection; potential to help kids and adults thrive in life; becoming more empathetic, trusting, generous and humble; it can elevate cognition and emotion, and make us happier, less stressed, and more creative.  To name a few!

UnknownIn praise of awe, indeed!

What inspires awe in your life?  I’d love to hear.

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Your feedback, forwards, tweets, likes are most welcome.

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