Some Awe is Awesome

Imagine an amazing lightening storm. Picture an inspiring warm ocean or beach front that you’ve been too, or dream of. Oh yeah, that’s the one. Maybe watch a majestic animal and be in awe of its peaceful presence. Awesome, yes?

Awe, lightning and Momentum

That mixed feeling of reverence and almost fearful wonder resides in our own imagination for whenever we want, or need it. Few of us remember to use the majestic powers that Awe contains in it, on a daily basis. 

Yes, its a quick easy 30 second mental vacation, but its so much more. 

  1. Did you know Awe also increases your bodies production of Oxytocin, the “hugging-love-bonding drug”.  Awe can “send the signal to move closer, and that clears the way for altruism, generosity, and acts of kindness.” according to researcher Johnathan Haidt, PhD.
  2. In a separate study, “Three experiments showed that participants who felt Awe, relative to other emotions, felt they had more time available (Experiments 1, 3) and were less impatient (Experiment 2). Participants who experienced Awe were also more willing to volunteer their time to help others.” from Rudd, Vohs and Aaker study in Psychological Science 2012.
  3. Michelle Shiota, PhD, at Arizona State University says either doing, or reading Awe inspiring events one can help “a person reflect on how an upsetting event fits into their philosophy of life, or how their personal experience unites them with humanity.”

That’s an amazing list of side effects of Just Being in the present moment enough to thoroughly enjoy Beauty. Be Captivated. Be Inspired. It’s as close as your favorite videos on YouTube, or your favorite photos. Feel for it everyday, in your own way.

So, the next time your boss catches you day-dreaming about something Awesome -educate them on the benefits of experiencing Awe as often as possible.

(But, beware the power of AWE!  Your boss may hold you to #2, “willingness to volunteer” your time, which might not be so “Awesome!”)

 

If you’ve got time – Just a 4 minute video seen on line that made me feel Awe towards Humanity (and a  Whale!)  –  via

 

(image from oompa123.deviantart.com)

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The deadliest fish of all…

You’re enjoying the incredibly peaceful Flow of Oxygen into your snorkel as you easily float on the surface of the warm, safe waters. Aaaahh. You just feel a natural connection to your own Pure Source Energy (use whatever Label you like for it). You feel Clarity, Inspiration, Love, and Appreciation there at the surface of the waters.

But then, a Problem Fish swims by.

Something seems to have roughed up against your outer protection, your Ego wet suit. You’d like to ignore it, but with enough chaffing of the wet suit, you’ll get a hole and will be exposed. You’d better catch and teach that little fish NOT to do that again!

They are readily known for their habit of rubbing up against Ego wet suits, no matter what ocean you swim in.  If you’ve got an Ego-suit, beware the Problem Fish!  You could just let it swim on by, but you want to “school” that nasty fish! (ouch, sorry.)

Photograph by David Wrobel, SeaPics

Photograph by David Wrobel, SeaPics

As you stare at it and try to understand it, you’re amazed at the shifting and complicated patterns on it. It seemed so simple at first, but the more attention you give it, you see it really has some deviously drawn angles and quickness about it. Stealing your attention from the peaceful and serene floating you were enjoying, the Problem Fish captures your attention downward.

You take a huge gulp and hold your breath as you dive down. As you dive down, you increase your distance from your flow of Oxygen, and instantly feel worse. Remember the the Doppler Effect?  Like a porpoise or a whale using frequency to find food or mates, your frequency and feelings change as you distance yourself from the Surface.

You no longer feel in the Flow. You now separate yourself from the Pure Breathing Source of Goodness up top as you change your gaze to stare down this Problem fish. Your lungs feel constricted and tighter. You’ve gone from Freedom and Happy to now like you’re chasing something and running out of air and directions. Oh, you REALLY want to fillet that thing now! Get the tartar sauce ready!

As you follow it, you start to recognize it’s pattern of swimming and begin to see how it reacts, and how you might put an end to this fish. Yet you’re still following it downward. Your lungs and heart and body just don’t feel so great. As you give it more attention, it continues to swim just a little faster than you and remains elusively out of your reach.

Feel the power of that litte fish!  It may be ugly and only a few inches long, but it seems to have the strength of the mightiest sea Kraken of yore. Rather than just letting it go, it now seems to be dragging you down into the depths.

You’ve almost forgotten by now how Easy it felt up top. How Free and Clear and Fun it was. Now, down here, focused on catching and killing that little fish, you just feel worse as you chase it.

The Surface calls to you, but you don’t even hear it.  Your attention has shifted.