An economist might tell you that engaging in these activities are a waste of effort...time and money. But if you ask a psychologist why we do these things, you'll get a very different answer. So what does a scenic view of the mountains, a massive display of fireworks, remarkable human accomplishments, the vastness of the sky, or the majesty of a beautiful building have in common? The answer is awe. They all provide us with a feeling of "reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder." That's the dictionary's definition of the word awe. But feeling awe, for me, is about finding that connection to something bigger, greater, and more meaningful than simple everyday life.
Awe involves a sense of uncertainty that humans will often try to unravel. "How'd they do THAT?" is often the first thing that pops into your minds when seeing something amazing. Then, you immediately begin to try and fathom out how something was done or made or created. More than any other species, humans are deeply dependent on intelligence; and humans have the ability to store vast amounts of information. Some scientists believe that awe may stem from the human's basic need to understand the world in which they live. I just like the feeling it gives.
Does awe prompt us to look closer at our environment? Does it affect the way we perceive our world? Are some humans (and a few frogs) more prone to being awe-struck than others? Does awe make us more open-minded or does it make us defensive and inflexible? Does awe affect the way we interact with others? These are just a few of the questions scientists have yet to answe about awe. Awe, at least for me, puts everything into perspective. I see the intracacies and mysteries of life and of the world around me. Awe reminds me of my place in the universe. It makes me feel small, but in a good way. I don't feel insignificant; awe simply makes me realize that there bigger things out there than just me and my problems. Awe makes me feel inspired to do better, to be better, to see things more clearly. Feeling awe makes me a better frog.
My wish for all of you is that you allow awe to become a regular part of your life. Not just whenyou're on vacation, but every day. All one has to do is look upwards; the sky is awesome. The oceans are awesome. Little small frogs that croak are awesome. Awesomeness is, I believe, in the eyes of the beholder. Let your eyes behold awe everywhere you look. It's as simple as stopping to smell, and see, the roses. The very fact that we are here is pretty amazing. Don't you think?
I know that all around my lily pad lay wonders just waiting to be discovered. I bet you'll find them, too, maybe even as close as your own backyard. Just look around....