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Awe is Not Optional

We need awe like we need vitamins, minerals, protein, fats, and carbs. Neglect it and your health may suffer. Skip awe in your everyday life and your effectiveness at work and in your relationships may slip. Get enough and you’ll be more relaxed, curious, and creative. Over the last decades, Awe has been pushed out of daily life by elusive definitions of success that keep people working from waking up until bed and puts kids in practices, tutoring, and other activities to earn their spot in the ever-escalating competition for the best schools that parents hope will lead to the best life for their kids. It doesn’t have to be this way. When I was 10, my dad took me rabbit hunting. Walking into the woods with him was like walking into the mythic past. He carried his father’s 12-gauge shotgun that bore the scars from my grandfather falling on and breaking the stock when he was 12. We chased up some rabbits and he got two, which we cleaned and cooked for dinner. In one afternoon, I went from kiddie cartoons to full immersion into the cycles of life and death, predator and prey, and father to son. We went canoeing a few years later, which was new to both of us. To prep for the unexpected, he capsized us in a set of rapids upstream from our camp without telling me beforehand. After coughing up water and gathering our stuff for what seemed like hours, my understanding of the world expanded once again.

Canoes slowly morphed into bigger boats and houseboats. We had some do or die moments with floods, wind, and mechanical problems along the way, but it was the easy silence between us around fires on the beach and listening to the soft but distinct sounds of unknown things moving just beyond the circle of light that introduced me to inner and outer depths I’m still exploring. We went to church when we were in town, but he only mentioned his faith in God when we were outside in the presence of something bigger that filled him with reverence and grace. I’m sure he didn’t think of these as awe expeditions, but I know what I now call awe is what sustained and enlivened him throughout his life. My early training in where and how to find awe, and how it sustained and enlivened me, led me to ditch college when it didn’t appear to be leading to a life of awe. In pursuit of awe, I moved to Colorado and eventually to NW Washington where vastness and mystery were a little easier to find and communities of like-minded awe seekers more common. Today I’m living in Switzerland and still in hot pursuit of the joy and wonders of awe.

Seeking and living a life of awe has convinced me that weaving awe into everyday life is one of the strongest and simplest antidotes to the over-stressed, over-achieving, and under-satisfying daily lives many of us live. To bring that medicine to others, I’ve combined decades of experience with new language, tools, and insights from Dacher Keltner’s book, Awe, The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life and other studies of awe to create Reclaiming Awe in Everyday Life, a three-day retreat near Missoula, Montana from June 22-25, 2023. In gratitude and honor of readers of my blog. I'm offering a $500 discount to you and anyone you know who might be interested. This offer will be valid for registrations received with a $500 deposit by May 1.

Au Revoir for now! Steve Hindman +41 (0)79 796 08 97 WhatsApp +1 (360) 303-0473 Expand Your Experience!


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