“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” –W.B. Yeats
I was sitting in a pastry shop with a new friend I had met just a few days before. We were talking about our businesses, sharing war stories about how we got started and where we hope to take our passions in the future.We had been talking for about 30 minutes and because we were both engrossed in the conversation we didn’t pay much attention to what was going on around us. Out of what seemed like nowhere a man approached our table. Neither one of us knew this man. The man looked right at my new friend and said, “I don’t know why I feel this way but for some reason I just know that if I were to tell you my strife you would be a great listener.”
Have you ever been a witness to deep, pure honesty, open vulnerability or felt such powerful awe toward another human being?
I was awe struck and silent. I just kept listening to this man tell his story to my friend and watched my friend listen and try to help this man.
I’ve had moments of awe in my life; when my children were born, when I see a rainbow, when something I was baking came out right on the first try, when I am aware enough to be able to recognize a miracle. Never in my life had I been in the presence of someone that, without trying or purpose, positively affected a total stranger just by existing in the same space.
The dictionary defines awe as an emotion that varies between inspiring dread, veneration and wonder. Synonyms include admiration, amazement, astonishment, wonder, wonderment. I think I felt all of those things in an instant.
After having experienced that awe struck feeling in such a powerful way I wanted to understand how to be that kind of person. What would it feel like to positively affect another human being simply because I existed or simply because my positive energy was flowing out toward others? Watching my new friend interact with the man, I noticed that my friend did not seem fazed by a stranger approaching him in that way. Being an outside observer I had to then wonder was my friend immune or becoming immune or just not in touch with his own light or his own positive energy?
“A miracle is often the willingness to see the common in an uncommon way.” –Noah Beshea, Jacob the Baker: Gentle Wisdom for a Complicated World
No. My friend was not immune or becoming immune and I do believe he knew something of his own light. He was being his divine self and honoring his purpose to help someone in need. THAT is awesome. It was a moment of purity, humility, clarity for me, selflessness and just plain honor.
I started searching inside of myself to better understand awe. Words like reverence, trust, humility, integrity, curiosity, grace and authenticity came up.
I think reverence was the strongest of these words. Reverence is the outward manifestation of awe; a gesture indicating deep respect. Reverence honors, respects, esteems, and adores a person or action. I definitely felt all of this in the moment of witnessing the honesty of this stranger as he spoke out loud to my friend. I reached out my hand to touch my friends’ arm because in that moment I was not in control of what I was doing. I had to touch that energy and connect with the reverence I was feeling in that moment.
How sad it is that moments like these are so few or noticed so infrequently that when we are struck by it we immediately take notice of the strange feeling it invokes in us and how we also feel humbled. How amazing it is that we are given the opportunity every day to recognize the awesomeness of those moments when they happen and let the experience seep into our soul. I would hate to take for granted reverent and awe struck moments.
“I never wake up in the morning and wonder why I am here. I wake up and wonder why I am not making here better.” –Jeffrey Fry
I wonder both thoughts actually. Sometimes when life seems to be crashing down around me and I can’t find a single thing that makes me feel good about my existence that’s when I wonder why I am here. But I have to say that most of the time I question every day not so much why I am not making here better but how I can make here better. I think, for me, inside of that “how” question is the humility and reverence I am looking for.
So how can someone keep awe and reverence as part of their humanness? Some people will go directly to religion and some people will just do good works. I like to reflect back on something my mom had said to me as I was growing up, “Never forget what it was like when you were….”.
This one thought is very powerful for me. I have often interjected endings like “when I was 13 years old, or when I was a first time parent, or when I was a business owner.” It doesn’t matter how the thought manifests itself, the point is to always stay in touch with the feeling because that is where your energy and your unique light will shine for someone else to grab onto.
Children are a blank slate. Just about everything they experience is an awesome moment; a wondrous moment. Their own wonderment is what helps their brains grow and expand and inspires their curiosity. Their awe moments push them forward. Have you ever noticed that when children experience understanding in an awe inspired moment, such as the telling of a joke or the sudden impact of emotion at all, that children will immediately look to a parent, grandparent or respected older person for confirmation of their understanding? I noticed that very thing while my kids were growing up. They were in the throes of understanding something they couldn’t understand before and the impact it had on them. They looked to me to see if I “get it” and that we were sharing the same wonderful experience together. That is awe and reverence.
How about as an adult? Do we experience awe moments anymore? Sure we do. Every morning that we wake up and have a chance at this new, clean slate of a day we are blessed with the awesome possibilities that day could bring. What will you notice today? What will catch inside of you to set today apart from yesterday? Where did an awe moment exist for you today?
There is a way to keep awe and reverence alive inside of you even in the throes of a difficult life.
• Define your moments of awe. Is it a sunset or is it the way a newborn baby curls its fingers around your finger? Is your moment of awe a walk in nature or might it be the way your garden flourishes or the way the bird sings? Stay conscious of your awe moments as they come along.
• Create moments of awe. If your child laughing takes your breath away then create moments where you just know you will hear your child laugh. If watching your child pray is an awe moment for you then create moments of prayer wherever possible. Attract to yourself that which will enhance your attention to magical, mystical, awe inspiring life moments. You attract to you that which you put your attention to, energy to and focus to. This could be negative or positive. Choose your attention, energy and focus wisely and thoughtfully.
• Slow down. Awe moments happen most often when we are not paying attention to them. Notice when you are “caught” in the majesty of an awe moment. You’ll know it right away because your breath will change, your senses will prickle and your mind will instinctively know that this moment you are in, as fleeting as it is, is something special. Honor it as best you can. Let it sink deep into your soul. Pass along the feeling to anyone who would be interested in hearing the story.
• Time. It will take time to create a habit of recognizing and celebrating awe moments. Allow the time to work its magic. One fine day you will realize that the miracles and awe you become aware of were not something you set out to recognize. It just became a part of your everyday activity and your life will seem quite miraculous. AWESOME!
Call to Action
Try these 4 tips over a 2 month time frame. Tell me how awe and reverence has increased in your life. What have you noticed, what has been magnified in your view of your life? What have other people noticed about you that make them want to share your new perspective, new energy, or new light?
Photo credit simplereminders.com
Lisa has been featured in Parent Magazine and in the book Stay-At-Home Mom’s Guide to Making Money by Liz Folger. Please visit her website at www.journeyoncoaching.com