Awakening Your Sense of Awe
Do you ever get the feeling that, because of social media and Instagram and everything that we now have access to at the tips of our fingers, suddenly, nothing seems as impressive as it used to be? When was the last time you truly–I mean truly–paused and appreciated something in front of you without first taking out your phone to snap a photo?
Lately, I’ve been feeling like the world we live in is somewhat responsible for removing us from really, tangibly experiencing things like “awe” and “inspiration” and “gratitude.” We live in a world where we hike for three hours up the highest mountain to get a good selfie, and spend money on experiences only so we can say (and show off) that we did them. I’m guilty of this on all accounts, but I’ve also started to become more actively aware of it. And I wanted to know if any of you ever feel the same way.
Recently, someone told me that if we are constantly focusing on what if, we’ll never appreciate what is, and this really hit home on everything I’d been thinking about lately. I started to think about all of the moments in my life that I truly feel present:
On a yoga mat
During a morning or afternoon run
Traveling (especially when I’m in some sort of transportation and I’m just looking out the window, taking it all in)
It’s probably not a coincidence that all of the above are either activities sans-phone or sans-WiFi.
Now that I’m trying to be more conscious of when I lose track of the present, I actually started finding myself suddenly snapping back into reality (rather than stressing out about the future, or what I’m going to write about next, or what I’m going to shoot) every now and then. One of those moments was during this shoot, in front of this ferris wheel, on a lazy Saturday afternoon spent with my boyfriend. I remember being so consumed with what kinds of content we were going to create that day, and how to get the right feeling across that we were trying to convey, and my mind–as always–was in overdrive. Don’t get me wrong, I thrive on this kind of crazy multi-tasking and overthinking. It’s how I do some of my best work. But right before the sun set, when the lights that dotted the ferris wheel booths turned on, and the world switched over from day to night, it suddenly hit me that I needed to stop and enjoy. I quickly paused all the craziness going on in my mind and sat there at the end of our shoot just watching the sun go down and listening to all of the people passing us by.
It’s hard to be fully present because our minds are always trying to create order and habit and structure out of the world. It’s hard to take a step back and even let yourself be still for even a single moment. It’s hard to even remember to sit still because we’re always on the go, planning our next move, deciding what else needs to be done. I get it. But it’s a worthwhile exercise to try and take a moment–even just a quick 60 seconds here and there–to stop thinking, and just experience. I noticed that I already do this when I’m working out, probably because there’s nothing else to distract myself from the pain in my stomach but the sheer act of looking around and seeing what’s going on in front of me. I’m trying to take this same action and make it a more consistent practice no matter what I do.
Do you guys ever feel this way? What are some things you do to feel more present or to feel more appreciative of what’s in front of you? Share your secrets!