Friday, February 17, 2012

Out of Awe

Have we lost our sense of awe? The world flashes by us and we barely have time to conquer the mundane, much less the awe-inspiring. To be awe inspired takes time, precious time. Pausing to see the imaginative, the beautiful, those things worthy of our admiration would most likely make us late for a meeting or even worse, cause us to miss our favorite TV show ... God forbid. 

I am just as guilty as the next person. I am busy, I am inundated with information, buried in a pile of data. Don't get me wrong, I see things I "like" everyday. I even see things that "move" me but it is on rare occasion that I am actually in awe. Sitting here thinking about it, the last moment of actual awe was a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago. I sat in a room full of Monet and Seurat; I actually sat for over an hour absolutely engulfed in the beauty of the work ... consumed. I only left because I didn't want the security guard to think I was casing the joint. I have to admit, It was emotional. I took the images with me in my mind and played them a million times during the remainder of the day.

I have, of course, had other moments - visiting Edinburgh Castle in Scotland or seeing my grandson for the first time -- but these are all events that have the context of creating awe. I am already predisposed to shut off the "noise" around me and focus. But what about the everyday moments in life, what am I missing? There is a great story from 2007 where the Washington Post did an experiment to see if extraordinary beauty would be recognized in the hurry of the day. Virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world, would play one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars in the lobby of the Metro Station in DC, and see if anyone would stop to listen. They didn't. The analysts ... who, of course, analyzed ... came to the same conclusion they have been concluding for years: for something to be awe-inspiring it must be presented in the proper context. Basically, we need to be told something is inspiring to be inspired by it. How sad!  

I will make a promise to myself: I will take the time to find the awe in the everyday. I will not rely on others to create context, I will create it for myself. I will open my eyes, ears, heart and mind to the possibility that what is happening right before me is awe inspiring.

What will you do? 


  1. I will have a Fabulous Friday. Take my son to the symphony and close my eyes and listen to the music. And I will also listen to the noise in my car of my son and his friends laughing and making jokes. That is also music to my ears.

    1. THAT is what I am talking about! The beauty and awe of music in its various forms. I hope you had a captivating time.

  2. For Valentines, I did not allow the TV or lights to be turned on, I lit a fire, turned on music and we talked, I'm in awe!