Still In Awe


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It’s still possible to be awestruck and brought to stillness and clarity and a sense of wonder, even in these times of turbulence and distress.

Join me this week as we consider ways of taking even more effective control of our lives by intentionally leaning into wonder. You’ll be surprised what happens when you do.

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As we begin, allow me to share an excerpt from one of my daily journals that will set the pace for today’s consideration.

Last night, I stood on the open prairie miles west of town as the full moon was rising. I listened as a chorus of coyotes yipped and howled and sang their hearts out. From half a mile away, another group answered them. Their call and response went on for a quarter of an hour, then gave way to the trill of crickets and tree frogs and the sound of the breeze whispering through the live oaks. This morning, I am still in awe at the wonder of creation.

Though I wrote that several years ago, every detail of it comes back to me when I stop to remember or read that entry again. The world is filled with such amazing things. Even now.

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Rather than allow myself to become entranced by the news of national and international unrest, I’ve made a fundamental decision to focus my awareness in more enlivening places, one day at a time throughout the year. While it’s imperative that we remain responsibly informed, it’s also imperative that we remain calm and focused. You’ve probably noticed how easy it can be to become overwhelmed and even paralyzed by the media barrage, robbing us of vitality and purpose and a sense of hope. Yet that kind of paralysis is not necessary.

So, what to do instead?


photo: Scott Lennox


Inspiration can be readily found when we become intentional about looking for it. Consider the luminosity of the sun or the wondrous light reflected from the surface of the moon in all of its phases. Stop and breathe in the beauty of light-struck roses. Notice the Fibonacci pattern formed by the seeds at the center of a sunflower, or in countless other places. Take a magnifying glass and look closely at the intricate way the barbs of a feather are knit together to make flight possible for birds.

Consider the way a fragile, yet persistent blade of grass makes its way up through the crack in the sidewalk to find the sun. Notice how even the smallest creatures innately know how to go about doing what they do. Listen to the music in the unbridled exuberance of the laughter of a baby or a small child. Experience the way the flavor of certain foods express themselves, little by little, until your senses are deliciously filled. Ponder the miracle of your ability to take in these words and understand their meaning.

Mystery and wonder will always reveal themselves to us when our eyes and ears and minds and hearts are open. And each time that happens, it’s possible for us to be moved from the inside out, sometimes in breathtaking ways.

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Much like that moon-struck night on the open prairie when coyotes serenaded me, I often think of a moonless one, years ago, when I was a few miles from the south rim of the Grand Canyon. My first time to be there, it was a windless, cloudless night, and the uncountable stars seemed closer and clearer than I had ever seen them.

I pulled off the road and turned off my headlights, spread a blanket across the hood of the car, and lay there looking up as I became enchanted by the luminous dome of stars. In a few moments, they seemed to come even closer, enveloping me while I watched. Had I kept driving and not pulled over, I would have missed something impossible to see in the noise and busyness of the city. The magic of that night never leaves me.

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Equally awe inspiring, I think of my first night in the jungle as I went out on my first mission as a medic in Vietnam. After our team had their defensive positions in place and I had checked on everyone, I lay awake for a long time before going to sleep. As I drifted off, I thought at first that I was dreaming and roused myself awake because of what I saw.

But I hadn’t been dreaming at all. The ground around me was glowing with a pale silver-blue light. Without moving, I watched it for a long time, noticing that whatever caused it was only on ground around us and not on any of the men in my team. I later learned that I had witnessed as a natural wonder. The phosphorescence was produced by the rapid breakdown of leaves and other organic material as they lay on the ground. Putting it simply, in that warm and humid environment, things were rotting so quickly they gave off light. How amazing was that!

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And no less awesome or inspiring is the feeling I have when I’m working with someone in counseling who begins to “get it.” As they make the sometimes bold and sometimes subtle changes in their lives that help them move through what they’ve been struggling with, I’m reminded of what powerful capabilities and energies are in each of us. Over and over again, I’ve been privileged to witness someone remembering who and what they are as human beings and how irreplaceably valuable they are.

For most of us, myself included, living a meaningful or valuable life is not found in what might be considered the “big things” or in anything that can be outwardly noticed. It’s found in our humanity, and in sharing ourselves with others in mutually beneficial ways. It’s also found in our ability to be struck by awe and wonder.

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This week’s Beautiful Question is a singularly pointed one. I’ll ask you to sit with it awhile.

What things inspire you or bring you to a sense of awe, and what happens when you experience it?

As your answers arise, write and tell me about them. I’m listening.

As I say each week,
My Light with Your Light.

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As the nation struggles to right itself again, I’m so grateful that we are connected in this way and renew my commitment to listening even more deeply to what is relevant for all of us. Thank you for joining me in these podcasts as we do what we can to respond to life in more effective ways.

As always, I’m open to your comments and feedback.

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I’m Scott Lennox, and this has been The Beautiful Question.

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