December 11, 2011
Comments Off on Inspiring Awe in your Life!
(I took this photo at a high school soccer game in the fall of 2011 and was stunned by the beauty of this sunset. I was also stunned that the people sitting around me did not actually SEE the gorgeous sky until I commented out loud how gorgeous it was. Here was this magnificent beauty right in front of us–and it was not apparent.)
Each weekday our three children get up before the sun. As the sun finally lifts into the sky our kids sit around the granite counter in our kitchen, eating eggs and bagels before heading to their classes at the high school. While this scenario may sound mundane, each one of these events is actually quite profound. The Divine law in place that guarantees– to the minute—the time the sun will rise each morning, is awe inspiring. Yet, we are rarely awed by a sunrise–and often sleep though them.
The notion that the polished colorful rock which now serves as our family’s kitchen countertop was long buried below the earth’s surface for millions of years, is awe inspiring. Yet we are rarely awed by a granite countertop.
Each of our children began life as a single cell. The Divine intelligence that told that cell to divide and then divide again and again also infused them with gifts, talents and intelligence. Now those teenagers are learning to drive, are thinking about their future and developing into young adults. Yet, we are rarely awed by teens.
The eggs that provided those teenagers with their first meal of the day have long been debated as to whether they came first, or the chicken required to produce them. That magnificent egg is awe inspiring, but rarely gets a passing thought before being boiled poached or fried.
Familiarity with the awesome components of life can dull our sense of awe. This familiarity can mute the remarkable nature of that which we experience regularly. As defined, awe is a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder. Perhaps we take for granted and do not offer respect to that which has become commonplace in our lives.
I recall feeling a sense of complete awe as I stood at the top of Mount Haleakala on the island of Maui, Hawaii. The feeling came from the view, the landscape that resembled the surface of Mars and the massive nature the mountain. There I was on this teeny island out in the Pacific Ocean, on top Mount Haleakala nearly 10,000 feet high—so high in fact that little grows at this altitude.
But do we have to reach the top of a mountain to be awed?
Awe requires conscious recognition. That consciousness is what defines our human experience. Awe requires that we notice all that is around us and how terrifically unlikely any of it is to exist—and to see how everything is a masterpiece. It has been said that once you can find awe when looking upon anything, you can find awe in absolutely everything. You see, while it is easy to find awe in the tremendous science and courage that put Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on the Apollo mission which landed men on the moon, how about the not so obvious awe-inspiring parts of life?
Consider the water in your gym-bottle or the water that you added to your coffee maker this morning. The world has been given not one new drop of water since its beginning. The same water we enjoy today for cooking, bathing, and drinking and that make up every cell of our body, has been around since the birth of our planet. That same water we use daily, hydrated the dinosaurs, flowed down the Nile River for the Ancient Egyptians, rained down upon the builders of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece thousands of years ago, and carved out the Grand Canyon. When was the last time you looked at a simple glass of recycled water through that awe-inspiring lens?
Reasons to be truly awed are all around us. If we look with wonder we are guaranteed to feel that reverential respect that the dictionary mentions in defining the word awe. While the word “awesome” is a popular term used to acknowledge something terrific, it has minimized the purest sense of the word. To a child, “awesome” may refer to a new family minivan with DVD players built into the headrests or in getting a trucker on the highway to honk his horn. Perhaps a brand new sheet of bubble wrap would be even more “awesome”.
An adult may exclaim “awesome” after hitting a string of green lights when in a rush or after realizing he or she is on the jumbo screen at a professional sporting event… and that is a start.
Today I ask you to consider the nature of a dandelion, a rock, a bug or the full moon. I encourage you to appreciate the moment after lightning and before thunder, as well as any other Divine law that gives order to our universe. For example, we know that our planet takes exactly 365 and ¼ days to make its yearly trip around the sun. This accounts for the extra day we are gifted with every four years when we celebrate a leap year. The earth makes this journey around the sun– hurtling through space– at about 67,000 mph. Still, with this sort of speed, every Equinox, Solstice, high and low time arrives right on time. Now that is truly awesome.
So when is the last time you truly felt awed? If it has been a while, this likely does not mean that there is nothing awesome in your life, only that you are not paying close enough attention. Look for small things that you come across that are infinitely significant, like an acorn. Listen to the actual sound that silence makes. Find beauty in things not often thought of as beautiful like a spider web or a white dandelion puff. Look for and create reasons to be awed. And then consciously acknowledge it. I guarantee it is what you will feel when you decide to grow a bell pepper or watermelon plant from a tiny single seed.
Rena M. Reese is the founder of Soul Salon International, an inspirational multimedia company, which offers coaching, consulting, web-design, publishing support, and fundraising opportunities for individuals and groups. She is the author of several inspirational titles, a professional speaker and coach as well as the host of a weekly radio program, The Soul Salon. Please visit www.SoulSalonInternational.com on the web, on Facebook and on Twitter @TheSoulSalon.