Three weeks ago my husband and I returned to Wellfleet Massachusetts, a place that we’ve visited together for 40 years (I longer than that). For me Wellfleet means home and in its peaceful, beautiful environment, I feel joy, wonder and awe.
It wasn’t an easy decision to return, despite longing to do so. It was a grueling four-day 3,300 mile drive getting here. We got tested before we left so we knew we weren’t bringing an unwanted virus with us, and were hypervigilant on the way and when we arrived. We came to be with family and reconnect with each other and ourselves.
Why am I telling you this? Because returning here reminds me of the feeling of awe and wonder, feelings that are so healing — feelings that are helpful for all of us.
Wellfleet is a place where wonder and awe come more easily through the roar of the waves and the smell of salt, and the peace and quiet of a small cabin in the woods. There’s less distraction, less to do. And the calm and quiet enhances my ability to be mindful and helps prime me to see the miraculous, the beautiful and the awe all around me. I want that for you.
Use Mindfulness to Find Your Wonder and Awe
Awe is important, as feeling it has been linked to generosity, positivity, better health, and sharpened thinking, among other benefits. It also feels good. But what if you’re stuck at home or you don’t feel upbeat right now. All the more reason to find awe and wonder!
You can tap into the magic of awe and wonder wherever you are. Look and you will find beauty, or things that make you say “wow,” or experiences that give you that feeling of being part of something bigger than yourself. Some are big, but many are just tiny things, small moments:
Standing under a towering redwood and looking up, feeling both small yet part of something grand
A small beautiful flower that you pass on a trail by your home
The giggle of a baby
A beautiful work of art
Watching an athlete give it their all
Listening to a song that makes you cry
An intricate spider web in shimmering in the morning light
A warm hug when you need it
Even a brilliant idea that you read about in a book …
Awe is found in the everyday – we just have to notice it.
As humans we have a built in negativity bias, but you can overcome that by paying attention to what’s good in your life. We often gloss over the positive and beautiful. But by being mindful, you can prime yourself to notice the positive experiences. Being mindful means pausing and savoring the small and big moments of awe and wonder that you experience. And then by remembering those moments you create positive memories in your brain that you can tap into when you need a boost.
Pause, Pay Attention, Be Intentional
Pause. Next time you see or hear or taste or smell something that makes you feel that awe feeling, stay with the experience for at least 20 seconds or more — that’s the pause. Breath in and out and relax.
Pay Attention. Use all of your senses to create a vivid memory — what do you smell, see, hear, taste, feel.
Be intentional. Set an intention to remember the experience so you create a permanent memory.
You can also seek out awe in the simple things in your home just by setting an intention to notice. The sun shining through the window then hitting your glass of water and creating dancing light on the surface. Your dog, asleep and peaceful on the couch next to you keeping you warm. The smell of baking bread. Pause, notice, breath in and out as you hold the memory.
Cultivate more awe and wonder.
Cultivating awe helps us shift away from our sense of being alone and helps us feel we are part of something bigger. And that makes a difference.
Our experiences in nature, present and past, are so often steeped in awe. Come cultivate awe and find deeper connection in your life in Write into Joy.
On August 27, I’ll lead you through intentional journaling about Awe & Nature to see what your experience has to offer you right now and moving forward. Join here >> https://wellfleetcircle.com/write-into-joy/