I recently returned from a two week personal retreat, beginning with a creational meditation workshop in the desert. One afternoon I drove to Joshua Tree National Park to explore. It was a brilliant day in the desert with the sky so blue it it seemed the rocks were painted on the sky. Thank you John Denver for that iconic reminder. There was an instant camaraderie among people gathering to watch the sunset. The rattlesnake on the sidewalk reminded us all to respect nature. All of it inspired awe in me. A simultaneous quieting and exhilaration of my spirit.

On the drive back to Palm Springs I took the southern route through the park, a two lane windy road, pitch black through the desert. I was the only one on the road, loving it, when the stars suddenly penetrated my awareness and it dawned on me to look up. I pulled off in the dirt on the side of the road, turned off all the lights, and stood up in my convertible to realize it was so black I could see the Milky Way and a sky packed with stars. I laughed out loud. I yahooed. I felt awe. I put my hands over my heart and felt gratitude. And the silence, the silence was amazing. Only the wind whispering through the dry desert grass. 

These opportunities have been farther between lately in my city-suburban life. But my relationship with the sky is the same. I am deeply inspired in these moments.

Driving up the California Coast and spending time at a dear friend’s house, the awe kept coming with craggy coastlines, aquamarine waves, soaring pelicans, rugged wind blown trees, and sunsets. 

What happens in our daily world when we feed ourselves with awe? When we stay awake and aware to awe in the simplest of moments, then bring that to our work, to our bodies, to our friends and lover and family, to our projects and ideas, to the meals we make, and our daily tasks, to our rest?

The guy next to me on the plane home asked me about my travels. I told him about my experience in the desert with the stars. He said, “it’s neat that you were aware enough to enjoy an experience like that and really get what it means.” I told him, “it’s great that you are aware enough to feel and get the meaning of my experience.”

Attune yourself to awe. Spread it around. Let it penetrate the way you do anything you do, to change your world a little better each moment.

~Shelley Hawkins

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