by Kathie England


What is the connection between awe and Earth Day and the eclipse?

How many people experienced a moment of awe as they witnessed the eclipse on April 8?

How many people will celebrate the 54th Earth Day on April 22?

How many recognize that people who experience “even five minutes of everyday awe are more curious about art, music, poetry, new scientific discoveries, philosophy, and questions about life and death” according to Dacher Keltner, the author of Awe? “They even feel more comfortable with mysteries, with that which cannot be explained.”

Lisa Feldman Barrett, the neuroscientist who is the author of 7½ Lessons about the Brain, talks about using awe to give her nervous system a break in very stressful situations. She tried cultivating awe for five minutes a day by starting with easy things first. In a TED Talk interview by Adam Grant, she explained that the sky, the leaves, the sound of the ocean made her feel like a speck. “If you’re a speck, then your problems are diminished for a very brief time. It gives your nervous system a moment to reset.” If we can find a moment to reset, what problems might we be able to solve?

I felt a moment of awe watching the pictures of the millions in the path of totality on April 8. Watching them, I didn’t see political divides. I saw people experiencing awe!

The Nature Conservancy encourages people to celebrate Earth Day and invites us, in that celebration, to find the leader in ourselves who will help us create a better future for our amazing planet. If we can find five minutes of everyday awe to reset, what problems for this amazing planet might we be able to solve?

Are you willing to take five minutes a day to cultivate everyday awe?

Dacher Keltner says scientific evidence suggests that “in the state of wonder that awe produces, our thought is more rigorous and energized.”

Who We Can Be – Are you willing to take that first small step to cultivate five minutes of everyday awe in your life?