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  • Writer's picturePriya Thomas

Embracing Awe: Finding Beauty in the Everyday Moments of Life

A gif of picturesque winding roads flanked by trees displaying vibrant fall foliage, with leaves gently falling to the ground.
Autumn's Embrace: Nature's Palette on Winding Road

We recently took a trip to North Georgia, a little over an hour drive to see Fall Colors. The winding roads revealed the whimsical beauty of the mountains painted with vibrant colors. "Look at the leaves falling" "Look at the colors" said my son mesmerized. My husband's parents are visiting from India, and it was their very first time ever seeing fall colors. "enthoro bangiya" they exclaimed in Malayalam. They too were in awe of the colors. I had seen fall colors countless times before, it surely was still amazing, but my mind was occupied with many thoughts. As a newly minted pediatric practice owner, my to-do list was long. Even as my eyes took in the vibrancy of the colors, my mind was adrift. I took my phone yet again to look at yet another "important" message. "Amma, look at the leaves, it's falling" As my 2-year-old little son screamed loudly with excitement- his sheer joy jolted me awake. In that moment, I realized there was all this beauty around me, and I was asleep to it. One of the phrases I love about mindfulness practice is "Simply begin again" I tell myself this whenever I catch myself not being present. Often my mind wants to pass judgement for being absent, but it is human nature to fall asleep, to get carried away- so I practice non-judgement, and remember here is a chance to begin again, and to be fully present to the marvelous beauty of nature.

A heartwarming photo of three children, walking by the lakeside, surrounded by the breathtaking colors of autumn foliage.
Exploring Nature's Canvas: Kids Delighting in Fall's Splendor

My kiddos led the way- they wanted to pick the leaves, all the different colors, they wanted to see fish in the lake and water bugs that were jumping up- you see, children are spontaneous and mindful on their own when they are given the chance to be in nature. I was no longer looking at my phone or thinking of my to-do list. Instead, as I stood at the foot of the mountains painted in yellow, orange and red, I was thinking about the beauty of creation and singing praises in my heart to the creator. I was experiencing awe. Researchers define awe as the feeling we get in the presence of something larger than ourselves.

Experiencing awe can help us in many ways- it enhances humility, gratitude, creativity and kindness. Research from UC Berkely has also shown that the practice of awe is associated with lower levels of inflammatory markers, meaning it has direct effect on our physical health. The practice of awe is good for us physically and mentally. How do cultivate a practice of awe? Here are some lessons from our trip. 1. Share your children's lens. Often our children get excited about smallest things. When we stay present in their excitement and share their lens, we can practice awe in the smallest things.

A photo taken with a child's perspective, capturing a mountain adorned in a riot of fall colors, showcasing the vibrant beauty of the season.
A Child's Perspective: Marveling at Nature's Autumn Masterpiece

2. Have a beginner's mind. sharing this trip with my in-laws who were seeing the colors for the very first time made me realize that having a beginners' mind can enhance my experience of awe. 3. Keep your phone away. there will always be important emails to check- but making a habit of being in nature, and being intentional about it can help one practice awe.

4. Don’t wait to practice awe. Awe can be practiced in any given moment-the giggle of a baby, the sun shining brightly-when we take time to pay attention, an ordinary moment can become awe inspiring. How do you embrace and practice awe in your lives?



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