Sometimes, life gets us down and we struggle to find inspiration.
When we’re in that place, it can feel like we’re (unskillfully) sailing against the wind underneath a depressingly grey sky. The ocean stretches in front of us for miles and miles, looking just as dull as the vast expanse above our head.
If you’re in the same boat at the moment, how about we turn around and head towards the sun instead?
In my experience, sometimes all it takes to get out of a negative mindset is to fully focus on something that’s so beautiful it’s almost transcendental…like staring at the stars or watching the sunset.
However, depending on what time it is when you read this, neither of these might be an option for you. That’s why I’d like to share some of my favourite quotes with you that can produce a similar effect.
The Case For Awe
If you allow these quotes to draw you in, chances are that you will experience a sense of awe. That emotion might just provide the fuel you need to turn your boat around.
In fact, research suggests that awe comes with amazing benefits. It can:
- Make you feel like you have more time.
- Increase critical thinking abilities.
- Improve your mood and life satisfaction.
If you’re ready to reap those benefits, let’s go:
1. Our Earth
When I first looked back at the Earth, standing on the Moon, I cried.
That’s how Astronaut Alan Shepard talked about his time on the lunar surface during the Apollo 14 mission in February 1971.
Let that quote sink in and put yourself in Alan Shepard’s shoes. Imagine what it feels like to stand on the moon, staring back at the beautiful blue marble we call our home.
Every human being, every animal, every plant you have ever cared about lives on earth.
When I fully allow myself to get that, I automatically tear up. I think it’s no wonder that some astronauts talk about a cognitive shift in awareness — called the “overview effect” — they experience when they see the earth from space.
Consider what an immense privilege it is that we know what our planet looks like from outer space. Most humans who have ever lived never got that chance.
2. Our Deepest Fear
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”
I have loved this quote by Marianne Williamson for a long, long time.
I find that the danger with well-known quotes like these is that we take them for granted. So don’t just read this, absorb it. Really ask yourself who you are not to shine brilliantly, and then make that question a part of your life.
In my own life, I realized that I had internalized that question when I asked myself (self-critically) who was I to deserve to be on the same interview series as an NYT-bestselling author.
The answer I got was simple. “Who are you not to?”
3. Our Body
The amazing thing is that every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust.
I love how Lawrence M. Krauss, author of A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing, puts it when he talks about “the most poetic thing” he knows about physics.
You, me and every human we will ever meet is made out of stardust. For instance, according to a recent survey of 150,000 stars, we have about 97% of the same kind of atoms as our galaxy.
I don’t know how to adequately respond to that realization but I presume the appropriate response is a stunned: “Wow!”
4. Our Uniqueness
There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it.
This quote by legendary dancer and choreographer Martha Graham is easily one of my favourite quotes ever.
While she shared these words with dancer Agnes de Mille, I think it contains a universal truth: you are unique. There has never been someone quite like you and in all space and time, there never will be someone quite like you again.
If that’s not worthy of celebration, I don’t know what is.
5. Our History
Consider the fact that for 3.8 billion years, a period of time older than the Earth’s mountains and rivers and oceans, every one of your forebears on both sides has been attractive enough to find a mate, healthy enough to reproduce, and sufficiently blessed by fate and circumstances to live long enough to do so.
Speaking of celebrating the miracle of yourself, in his book A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson wonderfully describes just a few of the incredible circumstances that had to happen over billions of yours for you to exist.
If you really consider how much had to happen for you to be here right now, it’s hard to argue that you’ve won the cosmic lottery a gazillion times over.
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