I was reading the Saturday Wall Street Journal, and saw an article which told me that if I experience one minute of awe in nature each day, it will make me happier, kinder and more compassionate**.
Today, as we drove down the mountain, we saw people ice climbing. I screamed out loud “holy mother of god, pull over”. I have never seen a person climbing up a frozen waterfall on the side of a mountain. I asked my fiancé, “Why would they want to climb frozen water or ice- it could break off any minute.” He said, “because they can”.…talk about awe! I stood there and watched them repel down a frozen waterfall with such ease and grace. At any moment a piece could break off and they could slide down. I looked up to see where they had tied off the rope, it was to a small aspen tree at the top that was leaning over with the tension of the rope.
Risks. Something we crave, something we avoid, something we assess in life.
Some people believe that we have acceptable time periods of our life to take risks. It is o.k. to take risks in your teens, or your 20’s because that is what youth is for. We tell ourselves later in life that we have done all our crazy stuff, now we have it all together. The truth is that risk is always something that is present at any age.
In my 30’s and 40’s I had everything. I had a great career, a wonderful lake front home, a great couch that you could sink into and disappear. I would read the Saturday paper for 3 hours. It was a high back tufted couch which I had yearned for 3 years and it cost $6,000.
For years in Toronto, Canada I had dreampt of owning a lake front home and having a great career. We moved out to Scugog lake area and bought a cottage that was “lifted up” so it could be a home.
I was a driven professional, ambitious. Then my husband died at 44 years old— and everything was meaningless. Suddenly the couch was meaningless, the panoramic view of the lake was meaningless.
Eight years later I have found more meaning, but the couch is long gone, sold to a single mother for $100 who left her abusive husband. She deserved to have time reading the paper against the high back tufted curve of my designer couch.
Now I live in the mountains and have very few belongings…. but I have love, and great dogs. It feels like family.
Life is full of risks and the p0tential for awe at any age.
** In a 2015 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers found that after gazing up at tall trees for just one minute participants in Berkeley California behaved more helpfully to others than people who looked at an unremarkable building. The reason, Momentary awe it suggests. The University of California Irvine psychologist Paul Piff, who co-authored the study says “I think we can say pretty certainly that having a little bit of awe everyday in your life would make you happier, kinder and more compassionate”.