Stay in awe of life…

“Familiarity with any great thing removes our awe of it…” writes L. Frank Baum in his 1901 novel The Master Key: An Electrical Fairy Tale, Founded Upon the Mysteries of Electricity and the Optimism of Its Devotees. When you think about it like that: awe in the context of electricity, he has a point. We pretty much take electricity for granted, and a good many other things.

What got me thinking about awe? A timely Guardian article Here’s why you need to be cultivating awe in your life by Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How it Can Transform Your Life.

“Empirical research by me and other psychologists has found that the cultivation of awe can be done, as with mindfulness practices, anywhere, and only takes a minute or two. You don’t need a lot of money, nor to travel to exotic locales, to find awe; it literally is always around you, if you just take a moment to pause and open your mind to what is vast and mysterious nearby. Still other studies suggest that awe is up to the task of responding to the crises of individualism, of excessive self-focus, loneliness, and the cynicism of our times, and even to some extent to rising problems of physical health… It is time for a new mental state to cultivate in our 21st-century lives, one oriented outward toward the world, that recognizes our fundamental interdependence, and that reminds us of the good humans can do. It is readily found in cultivating experiences of everyday awe.”

Why timely?

Cue aha moment. It’s been an “interesting” year so far. We’ve been feeling a bit stretched and too-busy. So, we decided this autumn-winter although we have a perfectly good caravan parked out the back which could be towed to distant and warmer climes it makes sense for us to stay close to home for a while. It was a relief to come to this decision. The will-we-won’t-we energy changed, and we settled. But we love to travel, it’s what we long planned to do in our later years. Why is FOMO strangely absent?

Our autumn weather is textbook glorious rather than miserable flooding rain and interminable mould clean-up of previous seasons. Circumspection of Covid years lingers along with the contemporaneous sensation of gratefulness for the safety net of simple village life, to which our journeys always return us unanimous there’s no place like home.

The answer lays I think in further reflection provided by an opportune article concurrently enriching the mindset which had me going about my everyday with renewed appreciation for my surrounds and what through filters of fresh insight and autumnal light does indeed resemble awe… for this extraordinarily ordinary life.

“Live in awe. Life is fragile. Be generous with your light.” ― Richie Norton

Awe daleleelife101-style courtesy of camera roll…

Caravan parked up for the winter
Anticipation not stagnation. After the saga of our last holiday and ute repairs which devolved into expense and hassle with the G.O. having to fix work done by repairers, we and our caravan are parked up for the winter but never fear we will set off again. In the meantime, there’s improvements to be done to the van’s water tanks to make independent camping all the better.
Time and space to take a break
“Most people have forgotten nowadays what a house can mean, though some of us have come to realize it as never before. It is a kingdom of its own in the midst of the world, a stronghold amid life’s storms and stresses, a refuge, even a sanctuary.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Firewood ready for winter
Mother nature provides. Last winter we weren’t in a position to cut firewood so heating the house was fairly exxy using electricity and buying in firewood but a windfall literally this year, our BiL needed to remove a dead tree off an old timber fence and replace the fence with metal star pickets… in exchange for some assistance from the G.O. we scored the dead tree and fence posts which will go a long way to keeping us warm this year.
Time and space to write
All the possibilities… as well as the blog and Ancestry, my winter 2023 project is DailyOM’s Write Heal Transform: A Magical Memoir Writing Course.
Time and space to read
Portal to other people’s lives-stories-journeys-worlds aka reading nook.
There's no place like home
Home. Be it ever so modest. Right now, managing cost-of-living is challenging. Right here, we feel rich.
In my kitchen
Notwithstanding its humble appearance… in my kitchen magic happens.
Sourdough bread science
Sourdough science… microbes + flour + water + salt + time + heat.
Alchemy from plums to Worcestershire sauce
Food alchemy… plums + vinegar + sugar + spices + heat = Worcestershire sauce.
Homemade homegrown food
The cornucopia that is leftovers. Old too-runny yoghurt mixed with SR flour et voilà flatbreads with homemade condiments, bits’n’pieces from the fridge and homegrown tomatoes.
Appearances can be deceiving
Triumph of #frugalandfabulous. Inspired by #pretendpizza @nancy.birtwhistle on Instagram. Pizza base from breadcrumbs. Toppings gleaned from the fridge. With this mindset we aim to emerge from our winter staycation wealthier, healthier and wiser…
Time and space to relax
Timeless technology. In the 1930’s the original owners who built this house oriented the verandah for shade in spring-summer and to catch the autumn-winter sun across the day.
Autumn village life
Old house and garden in a village in a coastal hinterland valley. Dreams really do come true.
Short walk to our local river
Getting away from it all is a short walk to the river below the village.
Our local Pub With No Beer has beer and new publicans
All the feels. Returning to our local pub for a bevvy after a 3-year absence. Also just a stroll down the hill our local Pub With No Beer has new publicans who we like. Which has cheered us up to no end.
Short drive down the highway for lunch with friends
Serendipity. Fortuitous change of plans pub lunch with #bffs holidaying at Port Macquarie an hour or so drive south from us.
Port Macquarie Town Beach Breakwall
Sign from the Universe. Indeed. Port Macquarie Town Beach Breakwall.
A change of scenery
40-minute drive north… feels like we live smack in the middle of paradise. This is where and when during a recovery picnic fish & chip lunch after a morning of taking care of business in Coffs city, we decided to spend the remainder of autumn and winter enjoying our own backyard.
Gardening is the closest I'll ever get to feelings of omnipotence
In my garden. The closest I get to omnipotence. Plant seed, grow plant, harvest plant, eat plant, save seed…
Satisfaction. Grow. Pick. Smell. Eat. Rocket… man.
Smell the roses.
Red means stop. And smell Mr Lincoln.
Time to pause and smell the Japanese windflowers
Special. Tucked away in a corner. Japanese windflowers, a gift from a friend. I had to move the plant from its original spot in the garden, and they can take a couple of years to establish. The rewards of patience.
Vietnamese mint flowers_small awe
Surprise. I had no idea. Vietnamese mint flowers resemble tiny orchid blooms.

“Stay in awe of life. The little things are the big things.
Awareness is a fundamental shift in personal identity and experiencing your world with joy.”
― Richie Norton

7 thoughts on “Stay in awe of life…

  1. Only this morning I was thinking about a sister idea of living in awe and that is ‘do small things with great love’. This is a very thought provoking post Dale and yet again we are on a similar wave length. Due to a variety of life issues we are only days from our self imposed deadline to cancel a big trip we had booked and planned months ago. It is just feeling like we need to be at home for a while. We still have a few days to decide but I totally understand your thinking and appreciation of being home after having to spend a month in Adelaide for medical reasons. Home is pretty awesome. Thank you for this lovely piece.


    1. Thank you for the thoughtful comment… it is a kindly dilemma this should we go should we stay situation, which helps us make gentle choices.
      When I contemplate more, I’ll remember “do small things with great love”. I think more as a lifestyle choice is being oversold at the cost of the merits of less and sufficiency.
      An apt term, life issues, one we certainly can relate to.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. There are times when I’m so homesick for the Coffs coast… And then I salute the moon in our warm night sky and smell the murreya flowers, count myself blessed that we don’t need heating, and that my passionfruit vine is *outrageously* flowering and fruiting at last, and that there will be fresh eggs for breakfast. Half the fun of travel is coming home, and home is where I am.


  3. I love this post, Dale. I love the pics and I love the sense of home it exudes. And I love this quote: ‘“Most people have forgotten nowadays what a house can mean, though some of us have come to realize it as never before. It is a kingdom of its own in the midst of the world, a stronghold amid life’s storms and stresses, a refuge, even a sanctuary.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer’
    For the Offspring and I, this house and the land around it have become all of the above. The Offspring has discovered a love of gardening I never expected, creating beautiful flower beds and edible crops that gave us delicious food all through spring, summer and autumn. We may still be self-isolating, but the garden gives us a physical connection to the outside which compliments our digital connection to the internet. Both keep us sane…and safe.
    -huge hugs-

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pleased that quote resonated with you the way it did with me… another aha moment. In turn I relate particularly to the closing sentences of your comment. I can be here, fully immersed in my surrounds with my own company but also somewhere else entirely, in the company of my choosing. Life is good.

      Liked by 1 person

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