SoulCare® Practices

Living a life inspired by awe

One of my favorite stories growing up was The Wizard of Oz. In the story, Dorothy and her friends travel to the Emerald City in hopes of meeting with the legendary wizard of Oz. It was rumored that Oz held the power to change their lives and could provide for their greatest needs. After a treacherous journey, they arrived to the Emerald City only to discover that, spoiler alert, the great and mighty Oz was actually an ordinary man with no power at all.

As I think of the story today, I resonate with the reality that humans continue to long for something powerful to change our lives or provide for our greatest needs. While many of us aren’t traveling down a yellow brick road to meet with a man behind a curtain, we do find ourselves searching for something, anything, that might turn our lives around for the better.

What do you turn to when you’re feeling down? Many of us turn to mindless distractions such as Netflix, social media, or video games. If we’re being honest, those distractions don’t help all that much in the end.

We are searching for our modern day power of Oz, all while neglecting the power of AWE.


Yes, awe.

Recent studies show that feelings of awe — defined as “the wonder that we feel when we encounter something that we can’t easily explain”— can enhance our memory and creativity, spark generosity, and can greatly benefit our mental health by giving us a new perspective on our worries and anxieties.

How, then, do we live a life inspired by awe? If you’re like me, when you think of awe, your mind is drawn to picturesque nature scenes or monumental experiences in life. While these are certainly ways to experience awe, we can also experience it in our day-to-day lives. Not sure where to begin? Here are five simple suggestions to get you started:

  1. Spend time in nature. Being surrounded by the beauty of nature is a great way to experience awe. Take a walk in a park, by the seaside, or in a forest to get a better appreciation for the world around you.
  2. Attend a live performance. Going to a live performance, be it a concert, play, or dance show, can be an amazing experience that can bring on a sense of awe.
  3. Look up at the stars. On a clear night, take a moment to look up at the stars and marvel at the vastness of the universe.
  4. Look for beauty in mundane activities. Take a moment to appreciate even the most mundane of activities. For example, take a moment to appreciate the smell of your morning coffee or the feeling of the sun on your skin.
  5. Share moments of awe with others. Sharing moments of awe with others can be a powerful experience. Talk to friends and family about what you’ve seen or experienced and how it made you feel.

Every day we are given opportunities to experience awe. The problem is we are often too distracted to fully experience it.

At the start of each year, people love to make New Years Resolutions or set goals for the year ahead. As we kick off the new year, what would it look like to utilize your awe-spotting skills more often?

At the end of the story, Dorothy, the lion, the tin man, and the scarecrow come to realize that the things they were felt they were lacking — a way home, courage, a heart, and a brain — turned out to be things they already possessed. Similarly, awe-spotting helps us encounter and experience our day to day realities with a new perspective. I think you will be encouraged by how intentionally seeking out awe will change your day, week, or year.

May we all seek out the power of awe this year.