Physical Culture, Self-Expression, & Awe

Your chest swells. Goose bumps form on your arms. Deep in your belly, your solar plexus shoots energy out to the rest of your body through the bundle of nerves housed there. The feeling of ‘awe’ – it is intense and vital to the human existence.

“We have a responsibility to awe.” – philosopher, Jason Silva

When you witness a majestic sunrise, or a natural landscape that is almost incomprehensible (except for the fact that there it is right in front of you)…

When an artist makes you feel exactly what they are feeling through their art…

When we experience anything that our mind decides is awe-inducing, we feel it deeply. And when we feel deeply enough to be moved, we change.

And that can change everything – how we work, what we spend our time on, how we view the world around us, how we handle stress – everything changes when you subject yourself to the deeply-felt experience of ‘awe’.


Perhaps because seeing that glorious sunset is the visual you needed to realize your place in this world, and what you need to do now that you know that place.

Perhaps because witnessing another human create music that absolutely shreds your soul and stirs emotions in you that you didn’t know you could tap into and use in the rest of your life.

Perhaps it’s because being in awe is a moment that you grabbed that is unordinary, that’s immensely different from what was just happening prior to that moment…and my what a realization, to become aware of how quickly things change.

Awe allows for a perspective shift.

It gently nudges you – or smashes you in the face – with the reminder: humans, you are breathtakingly amazing…and while you’re here, as a passenger on this organic spaceship rocketing through the Universe, you’re meant to do something.

You are meant to interact with the world around you by expressing the things that are within you.

Expressing yourself is such a soul-baring thing to do, but it is critical to this entire experience. And although they may not seem it, physical fitness & sports are indeed creative expressions of your soul. Look past the facade that comes with sports and ‘working out’ and see, really SEE it for what it is – a person getting in sync with the deepest parts of themselves, evolving themselves, pulling out their own demons, and sharpening their blade through competition against themselves or others.

Your expression of physical culture can be your creative medium. And when you express yourself through sweat and muscle, that is as beautiful as any artist’s canvas.

Allow awe to be a catalyst for evolution in your life.

Deeper appreciation. Immense gratitude. A sense of ‘I can do it’. Tears. Joy. Uncontrollable laughter. Love. Ecstasy. Passion carved into your soul…

Awe leads to those things and so much more.

To become a better human, start seeking out awe, in the world around you, and within yourself. We don’t set out each morning saying “I’m going to awe someone today.” But we can set out for the day saying “I’m going to be awesome today.” (Do you see what’s in the word ‘awesome’? It’s some awe. Hell yah.)

Feel like you aren’t creative enough to generate something awe-inducing? You’re wrong. While it’s true that only some have the deeply ingrained talent to make stunning music that thousands of people all feel deep within them, or to write a novel that changes the souls of millions of readers, every one of us is creating something out of what seems like nothing every single day.

How we choose to live our lives is visible evidence of what is in our head, our heart, and our soul.

Like anything, expressing the true nature within you might feel hard to do at first. One way to get better at it is to allow yourself to be moved by others expressing what is within them. Your brain may have learned to focus on day-to-day operations, the awe-inducing stuff just off camera from what you can see. But experiencing ‘awe’? That’s good stuff. Start seeking out more of that good stuff.

My heart soars when I witness another human creating something out of whatever energy is deep within them in a way that I can see it. I value that more than most other things.

Partly because it’s simply stunning to witness someone being an open conduit for energy, allowing the truth of themselves to flourish through music, art, physical culture, or whatever outward expression matches up with what they feel is inside them. But also because when I am in awe of another’s self-expression, it reminds me of what is within me, and that I need to get that out. To have that moment, feels wildly good. I’ve had so many of those moments in the last year, and my level of gratitude for them (and thus, life) has gone up in conjunction with the amount of awe I’ve felt.

Just like the sun and the sky are simply doing what the sun and sky do when sunrise or sunset happens, when a person simply does what it is within them to do….magic happens. AWE.
Post script: “awe” is not “envy”. Be careful in understanding that there is a difference – awe is appreciative in nature, it is inclusive, where envy is exclusive. Awe is a shared moment, a thing or a person creates it, and it has the potential to actually become more as it is shared with others, who can contribute energy of gratitude to it. Envy is ‘me vs. you’, it’s something that leans more towards a want of what another has, and is often predicated on facebook. You want ‘awe’, not ‘envy’.

Post post script: Still not sure how to take on “awe” which Jason Silva deemed a responsibility of ours? Start with Jason’s ‘Shots of Awe’ youtube channel, which I’ve linked here & below. I think you’ll enjoy them. I usually watch them, then play them again without watching, just to listen to the words, then I watch them again to really grasp what I’m seeing and hearing. Here’s to ‘awe’, that magical moment…may you have many of them.

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