What is Awe?
All you have to do is get out there in the world! Then, just take a look around. It is pretty much that easy to boost your mood with a healthy dose of Spring awe. Sometimes you may need to find a vantage point for awe…that was a mini-daffodil and it was definitely not growing at eye level!
Awe is the feeling we get in the presence of something vast that challenges our understanding of the world, like looking up at millions of stars in the night sky or marveling at the birth of a child. When people feel awe, they may use other words to describe the experience, such as wonder, amazement, surprise, or transcendence. The Greater Good Science Center
Well, it is as easy as stepping out the front door for me, but I am a self-proclaimed Awe Aficionado! I think I can claim that title because by definition…I like, know, appreciate and pursue Awe fervently. I’m a devotee, a fan, and an Awe enthusiast. Of course, not everyone is at that same place…yet. I do wonder-why?
It wouldn’t hurt for those that aren’t there yet to take a few steps closer. It would actually help in a lot of ways. Awe research is relatively new in comparison to research on other feelings (about 15 years new). What has been discovered is that it has many benefits.
Research suggests that awe can make you happier, healthier, more humble, and more connected to the people around you. S. Allen, Ph.D.
When I saw the daffodil buds in the first picture above I was excited and felt awe and anticipation in that experience. The life cycle of bulbs is nothing less than amazing.
No matter what, those flowers are pushing through with such beautiful perfection year after year. I understand the science and the conditions that make it possible, but there is still some grandness about it that is beyond my comprehension.
I feel awe often and I do believe very strongly that it has a very positive impact on my physical and mental health.
How Do We Experience Awe?
When I saw the full blooms the very next day I literally gasped. In just one day, such an awemazing and beautiful transition. My husband walked by several times and did not noticed they actually bloomed. I asked him. I also asked him if he knew that they grew right there by our step every year. He said he did, because I told him before. (Not because he noticed.)
Of course, we could say he may just not be into flowers. Ok. But, there is more to it. We have similar experiences with sunsets, sunrises, all things nature, and other awe inspiring people, places, and things. He is just is not an aficionado like me.
One study from UC Berkeley revealed that awe can even improve both our physical and mental health-benefits similar to those enjoyed by eating right and exercising. We need to train our minds to be mindful of all the extraordinary beauty, knowledge, and human potential we consistently take for granted. — Raya Bidshahri, Founder/CEO of Awecademy
If you are not already at least a budding awe aficionado, then you should get started as soon a possible. It can be found all around at any time if we are really looking!
The benefits are worth developing what I want to call awe intelligence. I am not entirely sure it has ever been pulled under the emotional intelligence umbrella. I hope it is acceptable that I pull it in for now.
The gist — awe is a powerful feeling that takes over when we witness something extremely grand. It stretches our current understanding — when we witness something outstanding. Awe is often accompanied or spurred by wonder and curiosity. Wonder and curiosity is what strengthens my awe intelligence.
I don’t just see what is immediately in front of me. I’m looking up, down, and all around. I am not just seeing what is. I’m wondering…how? why? when? in relation to what? The answers to these questions are not surface level…the daffodil bulb came from a discarded grocery store pot years ago. It is deeper…how do these bulbs exists and continue to thrive in the universe? How do conditions continue to be just perfect?
Apply a little wonder and curiosity as you scroll through the next section.
How did you do? Let’s compare notes.
I have to say, plants get me every time. I think about where they grow, how they grow, and how they reproduce. Some enter our lives to show off a new season and stay for what seems like a moment. The beauty. I can’t get enough. I can’t believe the new buds are growing right next to some of the seeds left over from the last season. Those old seeds held on even through the winds that nearly ripped the shutters off my house. How? Why?
Water, sunrises, and sunsets with their beautiful reflections of color rising and setting/lowering with the moon and the tides. The universe is so big. We are so small in such an incomprehensible way.
Geese tracks. Sorry if that one was a pure mystery. I can’t help but wonder where they have been, where they are going, and how they are able to travel the way they do-more awe.
Additional Sources of Awe
It is probably clear that nature is my main source of awe. There are not really a lot of people that notice or document as much as I do. ( Don’t Your Neighbors Think You’re Weird?)
There are plenty of other sources that you could layer on your journey outside this Spring if nature isn’t doing it for you. I sometimes run in my back yard. Last Spring I noticed a bird egg shell that I documented. (oops…back to nature again.) But, I also listen to audio books while I ran. There are some really awemazing people with some really mind boggling ideas in the world. Check them out.
One day I got tired of listening to my third book about procrastination. I switched over to music. In that moment I felt like I was gravitating around the yard. I don’t know if it was just the stark contrast between the books and the music that made the moment so memorable but…there are also some awemazing musicians out there. Try them to inspire some awe.
As a self-proclaimed awe aficionado, I feel it is my duty to bring awe to the attention of all. I can’t feel it for you but I can definitely remind you to be on the lookout!
Spring is here! Get outside and see awemazing things or bring your favorite audiobook or music app. Any way that you can find to inspire more awe…go for it! Start today! (More photos for awe if you want to start this second!)
One last tip — don’t get so caught up in your journey seeking awe that you step in goose poop. That is not awemazing! (I don’t think I did but there were a couple of close calls!)
Originally published at https://vantagepointsforawe.com on March 23, 2021.