In the April 2023 issue of Mindful Magazine, I read an article titled "The Power of Awe" just a few days before a recent gathering with my mindful leader cohort where we were going to discuss the same topic based on this article about discovering awe through mindful walking: https://www.mindfulleader.org/blog/85708-wandering-walks-using-awe-to-discover
"Awe is the emotion that arises when we encounter vast mysteries that transcend our understanding of the world" (Mindful, 2023). It discusses the science of awe and how it impacts our brains and the way we view our lives in the world and the vastness of the universe. In my little experiment to look for things that made me feel awe in everyday life, I realized there seems to be varying levels of awe. For example, I watch hummingbirds come to my feeders and I'm in awe of their agility, resilience, and sheer cuteness. I watch the sky and the clouds change as the sun sets and the sky turns all shades of blue, yellow, pink, and lavender and I'm in awe of that. Then, I watch my daughter graduate from high school and I'm in awe of the fact that she was a baby just yesterday!
On another level, I remember when my mom was sick and dying. Watching her go through that process with stoic courage and strength and not wanting us to see her in pain breaks me apart in little pieces still to this day and I'm suddenly in awe of the fragility of life itself and how death is inevitable for us all. The article states, "the most universal source of awe, our research finds, is the moral beauty of others, when we are moved and touched by others' kindness, courage, and the ability to overcome adversity."
Incorporating mindfulness and the sense of awe in everyday life can enhance our awareness and our place in the world in profound ways and also our sense of interconnectedness. Consider how this relates to leadership.
Try this little experiment for yourself. It can be done anyplace you find yourself; at home, walking down the sidewalk, at work, etc. Take a stroll. Walk mindfully and take time to really notice your surroundings. Notice little things you never noticed before like a flower blooming out of the crack of the pavement, or a bird nesting on a light pole. Even in the office, you may see colleagues exchanging a smile or kind words and something as small as a gesture can bring on the feeling of something bigger at play in the universe.
There are more tips to "Wandering Walks: Using Awe to Discover the Extraordinary in the Ordinary" in the link at the beginning of this post. Give it a try! I believe one can find/feel awe in the little things and the big things. Look for it and you'll soon notice that it's all around you.
Be well, be safe, and be kind. Happy 4th of July!