I don't always feel like bouncing out of bed and have been known to hide beneath the covers convincing myself that I have every good reason to remain snuggled.
However, once my common sense gives itself a good stretch and nudges me into reality, I move on to phase two of the waking up process – intentional deep breathing using Breathing Space from the Healing Hub and then a warm drink of lemon and ginger, before my first cup of coffee. Unlike the alarm, my coffee is the recipient of much love and adoration. I then trot off into the promise of a fresh new day before work responsibilities take centre stage.
Until recently, mother nature has been incubating during her well-deserved annual leave – aka Winter.
Just as she has her insular times, so too do we. It’s the natural ebb and flow of the universe. And, that’s okay. The good news is that there is always wonder around us regardless of my mood and regardless of yours. We just have to be open to receiving it. We have to throw off the covers and get UP. To look UP. I have never regretted an early start; I have only ever regretted succumbing to the covers over my head.
And now. Mother Nature has also stretched out of her slumber. There have several words to describe the beauty that Spring brings, but I think it’s best to describe its splendor as a feeling, rather than a descriptor. That feeling is: AWE.
Whether you are the CEO or CFO of a top-performing business, or a self-employed from-home writer, you are a PERSON. We give more of ourselves when we give more to ourselves. We all need time to incubate, and we all have our time to blossom and shine. What’s interesting about the word and concept of AWE, is that it can draw us out of those WINTER days and give us the perspective to live with more of a SPRING mindset. This SPRING mindset quite simply makes everything easier. It makes you an inspiring, patient leader. It makes you an enthusiastic and receptive learner. When we live in awe, we live with perspective, and our troubles shrink.
Ethan Kross, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, describes AWE as "the wonder that we feel when we encounter something that we can't easily explain". As described in the article, The little earthquake that could free your mind, whenever he finds himself in a mental rut of worrying and negative self-talk, he walks five blocks to his local arboretum and contemplates one of the magnificent trees in front of him and the astonishing power of nature.
“When you are in the presence of something vast and indescribable, you feel smaller, and so does your negative chatter," says Kross.
You will know instinctively that this makes sense. That feeling of being 'smaller' does not mean you are insignificant; it means that your worries almost always are (in the greater scheme of things). It means that we are reminded that there is something bigger than us, bigger than our worries. And that is a great comfort.
One of my favourite snippets from the book ‘The Untethered Soul’ is this: “Walk outside on a clear night and just look up into the sky. You are sitting on a planet spinning around in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Though you can only see a few thousand stars, there are hundreds of billions of stars in our Milky Way Galaxy alone. In fact, it is estimated that there are over a million stars in the Spiral Galaxy. And that galaxy would look like one star to us, if we could even see it. You are just standing on one little ball of dirt and spinning around one of the stars.”
Now that makes me feel in AWE of what we are a part of. And the consequence of that? The odd staffing issue or a jammed printer are not big problems. They are problems, but they are small by comparison. Quite honestly, they aren’t even little blips on a radar.
Brené Brown says this of AWE in her book, Atlas of the Heart: “And we don’t need to stand on a cliff and see the Northern Lights to feel awe or wonder-although this is absolutely on my bucket list. Sometimes I feel like my dog, Lucy, is staring into my soul and I feel a huge sense of wonder. How did I end up with an actual Ewok living in my house? How did this happen? It’s unreal. And as a parent, simple moments with my children have rendered me speechless with awe. I thought this would change as they got older, but even with a sixteen-year-old and a twenty-two-year-old, the awe still takes my breath away on a regular basis”. Now isn’t that an awe-inspiring way of looking at awe?
Find your AWE’s and allow them to deliver perspective when you feel overwhelmed – a thundering waterfall, an impossibly colourful butterfly, the fine ‘eye makeup’ of a tiny bird, an aircraft that soars through the skies despite its weight, a container ship that effortlessly glides on water. A newborn baby grown in a mother's stomach. The sheer enormity of an elephant and the towering height of a Redwood tree. The deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench, is 36 200 feet deep – there are things to be in awe of, that we can’t even see! I, for one, will be taking the word of others on this last fact – I mean, have you seen the sea creatures that lurk in the deep? They won't be winning any beauty contests anytime soon!
Live in awe, and you'll be awe-inspiring to others.