Mar 15 2016

Finding my Awe – by LeAnn Caseria

Published by at 2:14 am under Blog Contributors,Open Chat Night

Blog topic written by LeAnn Caseria

I went to a party yesterday.  Actually I went to two parties….IN ONE DAY!  This is epic for me, especially with my hearing loss.  The first one was my grandson’s birthday and he is turning three.  So, yes, balloons, pizza, popcorn and a “make your own cupcake” table all included.  Thomas the Tank Engine decorations, happy kids, busy parents, it was loud, nonstop and filled with happy children.

I didn’t spend too much time sitting as I was making coffee, taking pictures and trying to connect with people one on one.  Hearing loss and crowded, noisy rooms don’t go too well together so I try to catch people one at time, focus on just them and use a little lip reading.  A couple of times in the kitchen, someone would come up on my deaf side, lean in and ask me a question.  Luckily it was always family so I just smiled saying, “Sorry, can’t HEAR you”.  I’m really working on not letting parties frustrate me, try to go with the flow, be positive and enjoy.

A little later, I sat for a bit with my brother, ate a cupcake and people watched.  My adorable grandson was running around the tables wearing a Thomas the Tank engine outfit and a big grin.  Giggling he pulled his balloon along while being chased by his friend Molly who was also armed with an enormous grin and a balloon.  Their joy in the moment made us both pause as my brother joked, “That’s what we should all be doing.  When was the last time we grabbed a balloon and ran around in circles?”

It made me think.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about life, attitudes toward life, the struggles in life and our attitudes toward those struggles.  What do those three year olds have that we’ve lost?  Well, maybe not lost, but buried somewhere.  And I think one of the things is awe.

Awe is defined as a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.  With synonyms of wonder or wonderment, awestruck or to be amazed.

Awe is…being amazed.  Saying “WOW” when you see something beautiful.  It could be the Grand Canyon or it might be noticing the older couple that still hold hands when they cross the street. Today it might be the lady bug that a 7th grader showed me on the playground.  Yesterday, my grandson seemed amazed when I walked in with a huge bunch of balloons at his party.  Seeing his face light up with wonder made my day.

Researchers at Berkeley University(http://greatergood.berkeley.edu) say what we all know, that while young children seem to be wonderstruck on a regular basis, this experience tends to be rare in adults…but that awe is just as important for adults.  Their research suggests that awe has many proven benefits, including increased life satisfaction, a sense of time slowing down or standing still, and a greater desire to help others. They say awe may help people cope better with stress by promoting curiosity and exploration, rather than withdrawal and isolation.  Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology suggests that we “seek more daily awe” and that we will be better people for it.

So yesterday evening, my husband and I went to party number two.  A small dinner given by my daughter-in-law’s mother.  No balloons and much less noise for my ringing ears.   Six adults in a cozy cabin by the beach. The waves were crashing on the rocks as we drove along the bay and I was working on “finding my awe”.  The sounds and sights of the stormy beach made that easy.

Later we relaxed after a lovely meal and I found my awe in admiring the way that my son and his wife have transformed this beach cabin into a “home” that is uniquely them.  I found more awe on the way home, watching the moon shine over the water and thinking of what a fun day it had been and how fortunate I was.

I have friends that list what they are grateful for and another that has been keeping a journal of thankfulness for over a year.  All great ideas to look for the good things in our day.  For now, “finding my awe” is working for me so I’m making it a habit. They say that it takes 21 days of doing something before it becomes automatic.  Right now, I don’t care because “seeking my daily awe” is working.  I guess all I can say is “Wow”.

Join us on Wednesday at this week’s Open Chat Night!

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