In Search of Wonder and Awe

In Search of Wonder and Awe

“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” ~Albert Einstein

I adore the experience of awe; it evokes appreciation, my personal prescription for anxiety or sadness.

Whether it be a particularly stunning sunset, a newborn baby, or a 3-pointer at the buzzer that wins the basketball game, I simply love being stunned into smiling silence by visual beauty and excellence in action.

Awe: rapt wonder coupled with delight.

Such was my response to seeing Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby perform for the first time.

Hannah, who didn’t even begin her stand up career until the age of 27, had a difficult childhood and, as is so often the case with comedy, turned her pain to humour. Her Emmy nominated Netflix blockbuster Nanette turned the comedy world on its head.

I saw her show early on, before the New York Times gave her a rave review, before the rest of the world caught on and demanded more, and have watched Nanette many times. Because it’s that good. Because Hannah is that talented.

And because I adore the experience of awe, I like to gift myself with it as often as possible, especially these days, these increasingly dark days.

As a public speaker and writer, I appreciate—perhaps on a deeper level than some who have never written an hour’s worth of words, and then memorized and performed them in front of an audience—just how exceptional is Hannah’s talent.

Her second Netflix special, Douglas, followed. And again, I sat slack jawed in awe. And watched the show several times.

And now a book, Ten Steps to Nanette, which I ordered yesterday.

Because I adore the experience of awe and now choose as often as possible, in as many places as possible.

Because it’s there if I look, if I keep my eyes and ears and heart tuned into its existence… around the corner, up the street, I might just see it, catch a whiff of wonder, a morsel of mystery, an opportunity to appreciate something.

Otherwise, I might be sucked into cynicism, made blind and deaf to wonder by the shattering sadness suffered by millions for whom fear has executed hope.

Awe instills hope.

It declares a victory, however small, however temporary, against grief.

I hope you’ll watch Hannah Gadsby.

And maybe look for ways to find a little wonder in the world.



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About
Cynthia Barlow

Founder Cynthia Barlow

Facilitator, Author, Coach

Helping businesses build their people

When your people have the skills to communicate more effectively, they can connect more easily and collaborate more productively. Not only on the job, but also in life.

Communication, Connection, and Collaboration—the three “C’s”—are the cornerstones of all successful businesses. They are the result of Emotional Intelligence in action.

More details can be found in my recent best seller with co-author Jennifer Eggers:
Resilience: It’s Not About Bouncing Back

The power of resilience within organizations can transform an average company into a powerhouse. Yet, even in times of rapid disruptive change, there is no manual for building resilient organizations. This book is that manual.

“If you  want to build more resilience intentionally—personally and professionally—read this book.
~
Fran Karamousis, Chief  of Research, Gartner

 

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