Taking walks on beaches, staring at the stars, and watching sunrises from mountain peaks leads to living life more abundantly.
Here’s 10 reasons why.
Also check out the BONUS video below.
Hey Friend! Here I was, only a half mile into the five-mile hike, and I was done. I couldn’t go farther. The pain in my legs was too insistent. So, reluctantly, I turned around and headed back down the trail while my family continued to finish the hike up to Silver Lake.
Earlier that morning as we drove up the narrow, winding switchback to the trail head, I wasn’t feeling this hike at all! I was pasting a smile on my face and trying to be enthusiastic for my family, but in reality, I didn’t want to hike. Which isn’t like me at all. I normally LOVE an adventure especially if it involves the mountains, my family, and a hike that gets my heart pumping.
But not today.
My melancholy started while making breakfast when the familiar dull aching started clawing at the base of my head. My hands hurt to open the salsa for the eggs. And the zingers – the snap of nerve pain that explode in my hips and shoot down my legs – flared as I walked around my kitchen. These were some of the symptoms of chronic Lyme Disease I knew all too well. Not great companions for a hike.
Such a bummer! I had soooo looked forward to this hike with my family. But on the drive up the canyon, I wasn’t feeling so excited. I felt apprehensive and vulnerable with the pain. Anxiety crept into my heart, and I felt heavy, sluggish, and tired. A cloud hung over me, blocking my sunshine.
Have you ever felt that way before? You WANTED to feel awesome but you either didn’t feel well, or you were emotionally in a slump, or you just couldn’t seem to get excited about the things you normally love to do? You weren’t feeling ABUNDANT like you wanted to? I like to call these moments my “natural woman” moments.
My spirit is willing but my body is not.
It’s a battle against ease and comfort. It’s a diversion from the uphill climb to greatness onto the path of least resistance.
Usually when my natural woman wins I don’t feel very abundant.
But I’ve learned that with effort on my part – even a little effort – I can conquer my natural woman and DO the things that eventually will bring abundance in my life. That’s why I was hiking anyway. But a half mile was all I could do that day.
What I Did Instead
Maneuvering around rocks and over creeks, I walked back down the dirt path, heading back on my own. I could hear birdsong off in the trees somewhere and it made me smile. All around me the white bark of the quaking aspens reflected the light of the sunshine and the bright green aspen leaves contrasted with the dark pines that filled the forest. It was a lovely view.
Even though I was hurting with each step, the slower pace down the mountain path became a healing rhythm in my body. And my mind started to wander from the pain I felt to more elevated thoughts: The trees were beautiful. The snow covered mountain peak was breathtaking. I heard the roar of the river beyond the trees to my left. And I breathed in pine and damp earth.
I stopped here and there to take pictures of the way the light cascaded through the trees, or up close of a delicate leaf or flower.
I marveled at the way some of the trunks of the sapling aspens curved from the weight of winter snows and now in the summer courageously continued their push up into the sky.
After following the trail along the river the rest of the way down, I felt light, at peace, and more confident. I even felt so well that I was able to take my foldable kayak out of the back of our truck and spend some time paddling on Silver Lake Reservoir while waiting for my family to finish the hike. By this time much of the pain subsided and I felt joy.
Even though I only made it a half mile into my five-mile hike, my time in the mountains that day was soooo worth it! I was so glad I was there and made the effort even when it was hard at first.
I was so inspired as I walked down the mountain that day I took a minute to video my thoughts. You can watch that below.
How Adventure and Awe Leads to Living Life Abundantly
That’s what adventure and awe can do for us: it brings us abundance even in the midst of hardship or the dullness of ordinary life. It can transcend us to a higher place emotionally, physically, mentallly, and spiritually.
And that day, the effort I put into going on an adventure and experiencing awe in that forest paid off a hundred fold. It poured ABUNDANCE into my heart. It turned a day of pain, heaviness, and vulnerability into one of contentment and joy. I felt light with an elevating energy. Even my pain lifted after a while and mostly stayed away all evening.
How is this possible? It almost sounds a little naive, doesn’t it? As though a walk in the woods could fix it all. But for me in that moment and for that day, it did. I felt the rapture of being alive.
The Rapture of Being Alive
Joseph Campbell, the author who popularized the idea of the Hero Journey explains it this way:
“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” ~Joseph Campbell
The rapture of being alive. Isn’t that beautiful? That’s just what experiencing adventure and awe does for me.
Adventure and awe enlarge my strength and capacity and expand my perspective by collecting soul-filling experiences. They breathe new life into me and keep me in harmony with my spirit and God’s Spirit.
Because experiences of awe not only testify of being truly alive, they testify of everything that is bigger than just me and my life. They testify of our place in the bigger scheme of things.
Robert Fuller, who wrote Wonder: From Emotion to Spirituality explained in an interview that:
“Wonder is momentary contemplation of things larger than ourselves and what forces could have brought this into existence. Wonder motivates us to engage in our surroundings. It opens up our philosophical and greater sense of spirituality about belonging to a greater universe.”
That day for me in the mountains, the raging river was much greater than I was. The towering white capped mountain filled me with wonder. I was just a small guest amidst the legion of trees in the forest. And they made me feel closer to Him who created it all.
Moments of Highest Happiness and Fulfillment
Abraham Maslow, a prominent mid-century psychologist, defined these moments of awe as peak experiences and considered them to be one of the most important goals of life. They were moments of “highest happiness and fulfillment.” He found that normal people experienced peak experiences in everyday situations that somehow transcended them from ordinary life to extraordinary.
“The peak experience…feeling of limitless horizons opening up to the vision. The feeling of being simultaneously more powerful and more helpless than one ever was before. The feeling of great ecstasy, wonder, and awe. Loss of placing in time and space. The conviction that something extremely important and valuable has happened.” – Abraham Maslow
These experiences can be triggered by everyday events that in the moment come close to perfection, such as connecting in a loving relationship, being in the mountains, listening to inspiring music, walking along the seashore, in spiritual or religious worship or devotion, during athletics or competitions, and even during childbirth.
Maslow’s insight helps us understand WHY moments of adventure, awe, and wonder are so inspiring and lead to living life more abundantly. According to Maslow in his book, Toward a Psychology of Being, experiencing adventure and awe, or peak experiences, do lots of great things for us.
Here I’ve summarized his findings into 10 reasons why more adventure and awe will make you happy.
Helps you feel whole and more at peace with yourself.
Makes you feel unified with the world instead of separate and isolated.
Strengthens your confidence and gives you power to act, create, think, become, and overcome.
Enables you to act in your fullest abilities with more ease. What was a struggle before is now done effortlessly and with grace.
Focuses your attention on the here and now and living each moment to its fullest.
Frees you from fears, doubts, and self-criticisms allowing you to be more spontaneous, sincere, honest, playful, and expressive.
Provides a feeling of contentment, satisfaction, an end to striving, and completion.
Changes your perception of the world as beautiful and good.
Creates feelings of joy, happiness, delight, triumph, gratitude, and love.
Inspires you to give back, repay, and do something good in the world.
Friend! That’s a bucket-load of ABUNDANCE right there. All from experiencing adventure and awe.
Does that surprise you?
Although you’ve maybe never thought of it in terms like that, I bet you’ve experienced it. Think of a time when you’ve been overcome by the beauty of a sunset, or mesmerized by the ocean crashing onto the shore. Or when you held your newborn baby. A time when all the world seemed right and good. That was the power of awe pouring abundance into your heart.
The bottom line? Experiencing adventure and awe:
- Helps us see ourselves more positively.
- Helps us see life as worthwhile and meaningful.
- Inspires us to seek out more awe-inspiring experiences that perpetuate these abundant thoughts and feelings.
It’s an enduring cycle of abundance.
If adventure and awe bring so much abundance, why don’t we seek it out more often?
Again, I think it goes back to conquering the natural woman in ourselves. It’s much easier to stay put in the comfort of our homes than go through the effort of packing for a day trip, finding a place to explore or an adventure to take, and actually doing the work of getting out there.
It’s easier to park ourselves in front of a screen to be pacified than to challenge ourselves physically in an adventure. It’s easier to stay in the rut of everyday busy-ness and to-do lists than to carve time out for awe. Especially as busy moms orchestrating schedules, meals, and personalities.
Nate Staniforth, magician and author of Here is Real Magic, ventured to India to discover the sense of wonder, but discovered that wonder can be found right at home. In an interview he said:
“I know how easy it is to disappear into the to do list of every day and to break everyday into nothing more than a list of things I want to work, do, and accomplish and that’s it. You can lose a day, or a week, a month or year or a lifetime without ever pulling your head out of that machine and looking around.”
I remember trying to manage everything as a young mom with young children. It was a challenge!
I REALLY wanted to regularly get out in the mountains with my kids, or go kayaking with them on the reservoirs near our home. But the WORK involved in packing the bag and bringing snacks and water and sunscreen and figuring out the logistics of where to go and getting all the gear ready and feeding them first and getting them all in the car with shoes on and bathroom stops made…whew! I was exhausted even before the adventure began.
And then sometimes the most discouraging part was the inevitable “I don’t want to go” (our children battle their own natural man and woman too!) and “I’m too hot,” or cold, tired, hungry, bored….fill in the blank. Whatever the complaint was.
It was HARD to adventure with kids sometimes!
It’s Worth the Hard Work and Effort
But I found as I persevered we had some golden days where, if I could, I’d have bottled them up for later because of the awe, wonder, connection, and joy they delivered.
Today, my grown kids tell me some of their favorite memories of their childhood was our times tromping through the woods, scrambling up riverbanks, and reaching mountain peaks together.
One golden autumn morning we all sat at the kitchen table working on homeschool assignments. But suddenly I knew it needed to be an adventure day. I told the kids to put their books away; we were heading out on an adventure! Even my teenager agreed to come. I packed some quick snacks and we piled in the car (of course, after finding everyone’s shoes and all the potty breaks were made!) and we went exploring.
We found a new hike in a distant canyon and felt like we were the first humans ever to discover that hidden trail and its depths into the forest.
We hiked past a waterfall crashing on the boulders beside us, then followed the trail as it skirted around the falls and up over to where the river began its descent over the cliffs.
We climbed over logs and followed the river far into the ravine until the sun started to dip low and the shadows were long and it was time to retrace our steps with the river as our guide.
We found a snake and collected treasures along our way.
We were dirty, sweaty, tired, and supremely happy as we climbed into the car to go home.
Awe, look how little they are… and the joy on our faces. It was a great day! Sometimes you’ve just got to have some adventure. And the hard work and disruption to every-day life is worth it! Because adventure and awe deliver abundance into our hearts and keep us coming back for more.
So how can we fit more adventure and awe into our lives?
“If you stop and try to find that sense of wonder and awe wherever you are you will find it. You just have to remember to look for it. If it’s true that as adults we become very good at making things ordinary, then one of the ways to break yourself out of that is by plunging yourself into an environment where nothing is ordinary.” ~ Nate Staniforth
Hey Friend! We’ve got to get out there into the beautiful world and experience it. See it, feel it, breath it in. We’ve got to open our eyes and look for the wonder even in the everyday. Let’s conquer our natural woman and take every opportunity for adventure and awe that we can. They don’t have to be big endeavors. The important thing is to make the effort and carve out the time to GO. Somewhere. Anywhere.
Even if you only get a half mile into your five-mile hike it will be worthwhile and rewarding! You’ll be blessed with greater abundance in your life and will feel the returning effects of peace, joy, contentment, and the rapture of being alive.
What kinds of adventures inspire awe and wonder?
To help you take more opportunities for adventure and awe, I’ve created a list of 30 everyday adventures that inspire awe and wonder that you can grab here for free. We’ve got this! Let’s get our adventure on and start living life more abundantly one adventure at a time.
Yes! I want the 30 Adventure Ideas! Send me the FREE file to download.
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This is an exclusive video I sent my friends on my email list. I made it the day I turned around after only a half mile into my five-mile hike. Usually the videos and messages I send to my email list are EXCLUSIVE CONTENT just for them, but for fun I’m including this video here. I’d love to have you on that list so we can stay in touch too! If you’re not already a member of my email list, sign up today!