The Seven Stones Blog

Am I willing to be moved?

By Shea Adelson

To appreciate the beauty of a snow flake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold. ~ Aristotle 

In a village outside of Pondicheri, in a cavernous room echoing with music and chanting, the beat got faster. It got faster and the dancers responded, moving and shaking and banging on instruments, singing too I think, into an ecstatic crescendo. I, scanning the room, motionless, frustrated, judging, not understanding. There is ecstasy in this room, I remember thinking, but none of it is for me.

This memory is equal parts pain and gratitude. Because, man, was I stuck. I was stuck in an unwillingness to be moved. Unwilling to be awed.

This was, yikes, almost 20 years ago. The journey so to speak continues, because I’m pretty sure I don’t dance from moment to moment, vibrating in an ecstatic trance of clarity and love. But I have discovered awe. And it’s clear to me that awe is my most cherished of access points to peace, joy and freedom.¬†

Sun on snow

When I stand in awe I come into contact with the utter miraculous beauty of life’s design. See that sunset, that blazing sky gifted to us each and every night? That is fine art. Or even some of the least desirable sensations. I recently closed my fingers in our garage door, which created some pain sensation on par with a few minutes of child labor. And though I screamed and cried and shook, I heard myself say, “Wow! Wow! That is such a STRONG sensation! Wow!” For those 15 minutes, I was sure aware of my aliveness.

I’ve been asking myself lately as a practice, and I invite you to join me: Am I willing to be awed? Am I willing to be moved? To not have known already? Can I stand in the wonder and amazement of what I might have overlooked as mundane or uninteresting? Can I be awake for whatever is here, now?

And if I can, if we can, what becomes available? I think most of us want to feel alive, especially with so many demands pressing on us each moment of every day, many of which occur as requirements for giving up our aliveness in some way or another. And for me, when I am awed – moved, touched, awake – my heart opens, my mood shifts, my awareness expands, and possibility blossoms. What happens for you?

And how about that snow?



2 thoughts on “Am I willing to be moved?

  1. Thanks for bringing up the subject of awe. I like the fact that children readily use the word “AWESOME!” to describe their feelings and reactions. They seem to have no reservations about being awed. Yet how many of us adults feel comfortable describing an experience as awesome? Awe would seem to leave us dumbstruck, bumbling fools who, as Alan Watts puts it, “gape and stare” in the fact of endless demands on our time? To too many adults, wonder seems like child’s play. Plus, awe as truly felt is powerfully unsettling. It is connected with feelings of terror and exhiliration and oddness. Most of us learn to push those feelings away so that we can be in control and return the familiar comforts of our everday life. But as you point out: awe and a sense of possibilities are connected too. Awe and movement go together. So, you raise some great questions. I appreciate your faith that life CAN be fully felt. I say: that’s awesome!

  2. Yes! Michael, I love what you are saying. I’ve started to use the word AWESOME again, I think somewhat unconsciously as I’ve been investigating awe. It’s had a delicious return to that sense of wonder so inherent in our child selves. Mentioning Alan Watts makes me want to listen to him again. Thanks for that mention!

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