Creating an Awe-Full Community
I recently returned from a 5-day 2200-mile road trip through Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado and New Mexico. In those 5 days I spent lots of time in communities, with even more time observing the landscape between those stops and noting how my spirit rose and the way I engaged with a place changed with the appearance of inspiring visuals both natural and manmade. The common element in both arenas is the sense of awe awakened. And, once we open up to awe, we are empowered to use that transformative energy to develop thriving communities.
After doing a bit of research, I discovered a cache of videos, podcasts and articles about the power of awe produced by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. Earlier this year, GGSC hosted “The Art & Science of Awe” bringing together thought leaders, community members and others for “A day exploring the science and experience of awe. Attendees will gain eye-opening insights and practical lessons to apply in health and educational settings, as well as in their own personal lives. And they will experience jaw-dropping moments of awe throughout the day.”
- Awe transforms your mind, how you look at your social world and how you engage with others.
- Awe shifts us from self-interest into being interested in other people
- Sacrifice for your group, you become more connected to your community, good for wellbeing and physical health, connects us to others.
- Awe is the counterpoint to these cultural issues:
- Too self-focused? Awe expands your world
- Too greedy? Awe makes you more generous
- Lack of purpose? Awe brings focus to purpose
- Too stressed out? Awe improves health
How Awe Transforms Community
In an earlier post, I noted that “Transformative Capital is captured in the elements we know as Wisdom (I care about my family), Empathy (I care about your family) and Community (We care about our families). It is this transformative capital that activates the crucible from which commitment to community wellbeing is born. It is the invisible capital that shapes our lives to reflect our most closely held values, making a house a home and bringing individuals into a true community. It is what we all need more of as our local economies emerge, develop and deepen.” After this road trip, I have amended those transformative capital elements:
Ultimately, we all have it within us to create a thriving community. I am absolutely certain it cannot happen without all of us engaging with our natural ability to experience awe, share our wisdom and practice empathy every day towards ourselves and others.