Sunday, November 28, 2010

Awe is Awesome

I just read an article in O, the Oprah Magazine, about awe. Apparently, feeling a sense of awe is good for our health, both physical and emotional. Awe releases feel good chemicals in our brain that spur us to connect with others. When we experience something that amazes us, our first response is to feel good. Our second response is to want to share it with others. For example, the article said that the most emailed NY Times articles are not about oil spills and terrorism; the most emailed articles are inspirational, like articles about discoveries in space and stories of heroism or courage or generosity.

Most of us have our own personal guaranteed awe triggers, like gazing at the Milky Way or watching our children sleeping.

And then there are specific events that make us stop and say, “This is amazing.” For example, the trapped miners getting rescued in Chile. Or the pictures someone emailed me recently showing some young cheetahs chasing a baby antelope. When they caught it, they just played gently with it. The pictures show them licking it like a mother licking her cub, and the antelope nuzzling its deadly enemies. Then they all walked away to hunt and run another day.

Closer to home, I was up at my cabin this weekend. While I was out walking, it started snowing those big fat cottony flakes. The forest was so quiet I could hear the flakes softly ticking as they landed. So exquisitely beautiful.

The article made me realize how often I rush past awe. I don’t look up at the stars. I don’t pause to delight in the wonder. I don’t bother to share my discovery with someone. I am going to use my word of the year, attend, as a reminder in these last weeks of 2010 to savor and share the awe.

What are your guaranteed awe triggers? What has amazed you recently?


  1. Family all the way, and this includes all animals! That is where my awe truly is! Next vision of life and after that music to hear by and scent is always a big one for me. Do I like the smell of coffee more than the taste of it? I'm still wondering about that! Nice Post, always good to have these simple reminders to stand out! Thanks!

  2. I saw that article... Right now in my life I could say I am awed at what I thought I use to think I needed but now I know that I don't.. Funny how the older I get, my views have changed so much...

  3. Yesterday morning was a moment like that. Around 9o'clock, I went outside to let the chickens run. There was hardly a breeze, the sun was just peeking over the tree tops, the sky was a vivid blue. It was a crisp 40 degrees. It was very quiet. THAT was an "awe" moment. I just stood there absorbing it, relishing in it. I thought was a great day to hike. It wasn't disgustingly cold, the sun was warm and it was the type of day you would dress in layers. Those are the types of awe I like.

  4. My Dad was talking the other day about a time in Vermont when it was so quiet and peaceful he could hear the snow falling. He teared up just telling me about it. Capturing the awe in life is a lot of what photography means to me. I struggle with it more in winter, but I keep trying!! May the rest of 2010 be awe-some!

  5. I am enjoying your awesome comments!

    To Therese--What a sweet story. I teared up just reading it!

  6. Here's my story:

  7. Aneri, Thank you for your comment and for linking to my blog. Fruit is awesome indeed!


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