Finding Your Sense of Awe

Mar 29, 2011

When I was in college, I took the oddest--and coolest-- biology class ever. My professor insisted that in order to properly study science, we needed to appreciate it. He said that the world in general has lost its sense of awe. Our first assignment was to go anywhere in nature, sit for half an hour, and just feel it. And then of course write about it, which necessitated thinking about what we'd felt.

I try to remember his advice sometimes when I start to get stressed, or just bogged down in the daily trudge through mundane things. A few days ago, I bundled up the Kiddo and took him out on a walk. Normally, I stick him in his stroller to go to the park, but that day I just let him wander along the sidewalk next to me.

We stopped every thirty seconds.

We stopped on the yellow bumpy strip that alerts blind people to a crosswalk, and stomped on it to really feel the bumps. We poked at the green shoots popping out of the dirt, ready for spring. We picked up wood chips and sniffed them.

The whole walk was Kiddo-directed, and included running back to favorite spots multiple times. We didn't make it that far down the street, but it didn't matter. We weren't going anywhere. We were just enjoying.

As I watched the enjoyment he had in such small things, I realized I had been missing those things. I wasn't paying attention to the feel of bumps under my feet, the contrast of green plants against brown dirt, or the rain-drenched scent of wood chips, because those things weren't important to me.

Not until our walk, anyway. On that walk, those things were very important as I re-discovered my sense of awe. I really paid attention to the world, and to all the wonderful things in it. When we got back from the walk, I was filled with contentment.

So, my friends, do something to find your sense of awe today. Let it replenish a life you constantly spend emptying with all your daily tasks. Do it to refill your writing coffers, but also just to do it to be alive today. And please share. What things do you do to refill, recharge, and rediscover the world?

Pic is of the Kiddo when he was still the Bambino, getting his first exposure to spring.


Kari Marie said...

I have come to enjoy watching the sun rise. In those few minutes my day is fresh. I can do anything without worrying about limitations.

Reece said...

I enjoy those times of the day when the sun is starting to dip toward the horizon (or has just risen above it), when the shadows are long, and the light takes on that yellowish-gold color and gives everything a warm, comfortable hue. To me it seems like those times of the day (whether in the morning or the evening) are just a little quieter than the rest of the day, like the whole world is thinking or relaxing.

I loved this post! Way to go Shallee! I think everyone needs reminders like these sometimes (also, if that was the 'Appreciation of Nature' class at BYU, I'm totally jealous)

Angie said...

Cute, cute picture. What a lovely walk you had. I go to the park to walk for exercise and get so frustrated if my little one wants to stop and pick up sticks and throw them in the pond, etc... I'm thinking I should save the exercise for the treadmill and go to the park for the awe.

Faith E. Hough said...

That sounds wonderful! I've realized, now that I sit out and watch my toddlers play for hours, that I'd lost the appreciation I had as a kid for the beautiful undersides of trees' branches...I'm so glad I stopped to rediscover that beauty again.

David P. King said...

Wow! This post kinda freaked me out (in a good way), because I just had an "awe" moment. Thank you for the perspective!

Tatum Flynn said...

You're so right. It sounds like your science teacher was a fan of Einstein, who said 'There are two ways of looking at life: as though nothing is a miracle, or as though everything is.'

I usually do notice all the little things, probably cos I'm a big kid :)

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