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Routine has become an oppressive companion during this pandemic. Our worlds have become smaller — both physically and socially — and we’ve grown accustomed to our days blurring together.
Perhaps you’ve found yourself thinking, “Today was just like yesterday, and just like the day before. So does today matter? Or should I just give up on it?”
These are the thoughts our Senior Video Producer, Javi Zubizarreta has been wrestling with. He joins Sara Thoms in this first episode of Good and Decent to confront the challenge of monotony head-on, and propose an antidote: wonder and awe. Their conversation draws upon encounters with Harvard cosmologist, Mila Chadayammuri, and a priest on safari named Father Pat Reidy, CSC (watch our full mini-documentaries on both below).
It’s not hard to see why awe is such an important experience for shaking us out of our complacency. Scientists have defined it as “the feeling we get in the presence of something vast that challenges our understanding of the world.” Experiences of awe are connected to better health, clearer thinking, and improved relationships.
So how do we go out and find awe and wonder? As Javi and Sara note, it’s a practice. It takes intentionality to find these kinds of experiences — and then to savor them. Kids are usually plugged into the emotion of wonder intuitively, though, so they can unlock a spirit of awe for us. And then there’s the very simple meditation practice that Father Pat introduces, the “examen” — it’s a way to perceive more and increase your gratitude.
See the work Mila is doing to visualize the deepest reaches of our universe:
Journey with Father Pat to Tanzania, where he reflects on praying in the Ngorongoro Crater:
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