Last week, on a rainy Wednesday after throwing together a dinner of leftovers, I put on my good clothes (pretty much anything other than sweats) and went to Powell’s Books Cedar Hills Crossing, in Beaverton.
I was the author that night. The one invited to come talk about her book before a crowd which I expected to be my daughter and husband who I bribed to come.
When I got there, early and a little wigged out by the road construction that I was sure would make me late, there were a few people in the room – people I didn’t even KNOW. I also saw a few friends. And, five minutes before the talk was supposed to start, Renee and April, the Powell’s Books folks who helped make all this work, were pulling out more chairs to seat all the people who showed.
The room was packed – 60 or 70 people maybe – all coming together to talk about books and ideas about how to live a more inspired life. People who came out on a dark and stormy night — love the cliche’ — to connect over ideas. How awesome! And, how hopeful too, that we can still sometimes, come together face-to-face.
One of the things I talked about was how Awesome is all around us. Researchers say AWE is vast – usually something we experience as feeling bigger than ourselves. Of course “bigger” can be defined in a broad way something spiritual, like compassion, or amazing like a spider’s web. By big I’m thinking beyond our realm of complete understanding. AND awe requires accommodation. We’ve got to take in the experience, make sense of it, and in order to do that, often, we are changed.
I challenge folks to set the intention to discover the awe in their every-day lives, then to seek it out. Go looking for the amazing. Finally, savor it. Soak. It. Up. Hold the awesome feelings and let them drape over you for at least 30 seconds and you begin to rewire your brain in way that illuminates more of the good stuff in life.
Finding the Awe
This sounds easy to do, of course, when the sun is out and the birds are singing and the check comes in the mail and everyone is clean and lovey and polite. Harder in the rain and the snark and the traffic jams and health issues and when you are tired but you still have to find something to feed the little people in your home.
How do we find the awe in THOSE moments?
First off, Stop doing. Stop the busyness. Slow down. Just be. Take one thing at a time and take a beat in each moment to notice what you ARE doing. Striving is not living it’s always looking for the next thing, instead of living with this thing now.
When you focus on this moment now – what you are being right now – you start to notice the awesome. AND, when you do, you’ve got a direct line to savoring, gratitude and a whole bunch of other stuff that just Makes You Feel Better. AND, then you become more resilient, more productive, healthier AND people like you more because you aren’t cranky. Seriously, don’t over think it. Just look for the awe and see what happens.
Places to Find Awe
When you are brushing your teeth in the a.m. think about how amazing it is that we have enamel in our mouth to help us eat tacos. The, you might get curious about how your body has come together in all these parts JUST to serve you so that YOU CAN LIVE YOUR DREAMS. Even if this body doesn’t work right (and I’ve got RA so mine doesn’t) it is still working enough to keep you living and breathing and reading this and when you think of ALL the shit that has to happen to make that possible. Hm. Awesome. Right there, people.
Or say, you are dealing with a cranky client and you realize, huh, isn’t it awesome you can just delete his e-mail. Or, you’ve got that great, forever friend you can call up and gripe to about the crank and in the midst of that call you are think WOW, so glad to have a friend like that and that MAKES EVERYTHING better and isn’t it awesome how we relate and connect to one another. AND, by now you are feeling better and you start again, with a new idea that cranky client might just like. And he does. HE LOVES it.
The point, yes, there is one, is that you can experience awe and goodness and happiness right at the same time you experience doubt or upset or frustration — IF YOU GO LOOKING FOR IT. Go looking for the goodness and when you do it buffers you from the stress. It doesn’t drop you into a bliss state, but it makes the difficult a little easier to bear until the better returns.
So, what does the awe look like in your life today? Is it a song? Is it the way your eyes are able to watch the world? Is it the giggle of your little girl, or that hummingbird in the red-flowered bush out front? That’s what it looks like in my world today.
On Wednesday, I’ll show more examples of how awe shows up in my life.