The Power Of Awe | #SoulfulSunday

In tumultuous times, we always long for comfort and healing. Perhaps, even some inspiration and motivation too!

Last month was tough on us as a family and more so, for me, as I went through a painful recovery from the aftermath of a viral fever that left me with acute debilitating pain.

I was so caught up in focussing on managing my pain, that nothing else really mattered—that my writing and reading was almost non-existent didn’t bother me. Nothing really meant anything anymore. I wanted relief—absolutely any relief from pain. The prolonged agony lasted weeks.

One evening, nearly three weeks later, I felt a shift within me—something nudged me to pull aside the curtains and step out of the room.

Right before me was a flaming orange sky, beautiful and surreal, that I was watching from our seventh floor balcony. The sky kept changing colours while I stood soaking in the magic of an ethereal dusk, wondering what had kept me from looking out of the window for so many days!

Perhaps a million people might have been out and about in the city that evening, what could be yet another day in their lives, at the very same time that I was swept by wonder and joy at the sight of the evening sky!

A sense of peace wrapped me around, and I felt connected to something much more profound and liberating and beautiful! To the sky, I must have seemed like a puny figure struggling with the mysteries of existence. In a strange way, it felt like the Universe was showing me a way to deal through the pain. I felt reverence and comfort being a part of this mysterious life force, and I knew that I was not alone.

The mind works through mysterious ways and that evening, this connection with the Universe not only comforted me but also made me feel liberated and joyful even through my pain.

This experience reminded me of what Dacher Keltner, the author of Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder talks about in his book—that “feeling of being in the presence of something vast that transcends your current understanding of the world.”

Envisioning oneself or the world from a great distance is a great way to evoke awe. It may seem like a tiny thing to do, but it’s definitely been instrumental in bringing a deep sense of comfort to many of us, especially after the last few tumultuous years.

As we all dive deeper into our inner selves to unclench our minds and find greater peace, awe seems to be the medium to help us get there—through the little things that surround us every day.

I’m sure to each one of us this sense of amazement and wonder comes from a unique set of things. I find mine while skywatching or when I’m out for my daily walk—even a tiny flower fallen on the walking track can strike me with awe as much as the vibrant patch of pink profusions blooming in the garden or the rapidly dissolving hues in our monsoon sky!

This morning, after I returned from my Acupuncture session, I asked myself if I’d like to push aside my to-do list and instead, head for a wonder walk around the garden, even if only to open my eyes once again to unnoticed beauty! The sunshine on the grassy slopes and the gorgeous blue sky was enough to lure me. If I could clock in at least a few thousand steps, it would be a bonus.

So, should I…or should I not?

And then, a passing thought hit me—What if this day never comes again? What if…?

Never leave for tomorrow what you can do today—said the voice in my head. I smiled and shut the door behind me, walking towards the lift.


Written as part of our #SoulfulSunday free writing exercise, along with my friends Vinitha and Shilpa.

3 thoughts

  1. I am glad you are feeling better and also that you took that walk. The pictures are so cheerful. The skies look glorious. Of late I find myself putting off chores, making time for the little things, a walk or a conversation.

  2. “Never leave for tomorrow, what you can do today.” Such a profound thought! And it is precisely what I and my friend were talking about this morning. The moment you have now, spend it doing whatever gives you happiness, peace of mind and the inspiration to live a better day today.
    Loved your post and reading your thoughts, Esha. This post is so full of tiny nuggets of wisdom…precious words we rarely tell ourselves as we hurry through our days, mindlessly.

    1. Thank you so much, Shilpa! The nuggets that life teach us through lived experiences are always worth sharing. The only constant in life is change and the only real moment is now. That’s what I’m learning in new ways every single day.
      That mantra is also mine for now. Having spent so much time in life, living for the future, you won’t believe how much I need these reminders, from time to time, so I can focus on the here and now.

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