I’ve been fascinated by the idea that awe is an anti-inflammatory emotion.
So many of our modern diseases (labels) involve inflammation – it’s easy to get caught up the world of interpersonal drama, high-rises, sub-divisions, cell-phones, road-rage, the nightly news (!) – and forget that there’s a larger world out there – nature – the cosmos – full of stars and mountains and oceans – things larger than ourselves.
Let’s take a deep breath for a moment, and remember what it feels like to gaze out over the ocean, or into the night sky, full of stars. Ahhh.
When we take time to remember, and to stand in the presence of these awe-inspiring things – to let our bodies and minds really feel it – we’re doing something wonderful for our health and longevity.
When I was a little girl, I had the awe-inspiring experience of being befriended by a horse. It changed my life! What a wonderful thing, to have a majestic friend, much larger than myself, who loved me unconditionally. It’s one of the reasons I feel so passionate about teaching Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL). We know now, that such experiences – in addition to feeling awe-inspiring – build a sense of self-esteem, worthiness, confidence, self-trust.
I came across this lovely passage from the Arivaca Boy’s Ranch, located just south of Tubac, AZ, which uses EFL to help troubled teens find their way again, and reconnect in a wholesome way with their parents and peers:
“People often ask, “Why horses? Why not other animals?”
“Horses are large and powerful, which creates a natural opportunity for most people to overcome fear and develop confidence. The size and power of a horse can be naturally intimidating to many people. Accomplishing a task involving a horse, in spite of those fears, creates confidence and provides an opportunity for the use of some powerful metaphors when dealing with other intimidating and challenging situations in life.”
I have found this to be true in my personal and professional life. The confidence-building experience of working with horses, and the ability to ground, and center, through Yoga and the use of the breath, is a powerful combination.
Today, I invite you to take time to remember, and if possible – to be with – the things that inspire a sense of awe in you. Breathe deep, exhale, feel the ground beneath your feet.
We’re always connected.