Through the Eyes of an Educator: Invite more awe

by Stacey Ebert /
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Dec 05, 2022 / 0 comments

It’s in a child’s eyes the first time they see Mickey Mouse. It’s in a parent’s face when they meet their new addition for the first time. It’s in the eyes of an individual when they connect with that person or animal who’s made a huge difference in their life. 

I felt it in my core the day I stood at the edge of Victoria Falls, and when I was blessed to witness sunrise atop Israel’s Masada. It’s those soul-shaking moments that imprint core memories you can somatically feel in your entire being. The dictionary explains it as “a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder,” but if you’ve been lucky enough to experience it in one way or another, you don’t need a dictionary description—you feel it.

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Invite more awe

It’s that light that seeps into your inner being and lifts you from the inside. If sketched by an artist, I’d imagine an impromptu floating, smiling cloud emitting endless light and sparkly glitter. 

It’s those moments where your aura glows brilliantly and every fiber in your being erupts in blessed joy. 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Invite more awe

Words don’t seem to do it justice, but when we feel it, we know. And once felt, we crave more. 

In this time of jumbled schedules, constant Covid chaos, holiday hype or humbug, and the noise of new year’s everything, we all could undoubtedly benefit from a bit more awe. 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Invite more awe

Since early 2020, every single day has had some sense of harried flux and anxiety mixed with a dose of global commotion. Some days it’s easier to get out of our heads, lower the volume on the news, and block the outside hubbub, yet others we’re searching for our footy pajamas and that steaming cup of cocoa. Perhaps, in a nutshell, awe is the feeling of that welcoming pillow fort complete with glow in the dark stars, our favorite comfort foods, and the warmth of all the fuzzy socks and blankets we could possibly imagine. Let’s face it—we could all use a little more awe.

While there are definitely times that it’s easy to imagine those encounters with awe, I don’t know about you, but recently, it’s been a bit harder. I often experienced more of those awe-filled moments through travel. Whether you get to personally share space with the atmosphere at Uluru, hike the trails of Sedona’s famous rocks, watch a sunrise at Angkor Wat, or take in National Geographic’s documentaries of all things nature and adventure, there’s a feeling that comes with these moments. 

The ebb and flow of life and whatever you consider your daily grind doesn’t often easily allow for everyday awe-filled moments, but what if we could change that? What if we had the power to invite more awe—and all it takes is knowing how to activate it? Interested? Me, too. 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Invite more awe

December brings a whole mix of emotions. There's everything associated with a myriad of holidays, winter joy and SAD affects disorders, snuggle sessions and serious shopping situations, and a whole lot of big feelings that exacerbate our nervous system. What if we embraced watching a hummingbird fiercely flutter her wings, the birth of a puppy litter, or that freeing feeling of pumping our heels on a swing set? What if we not only manifested those moments, but fully seized them? 

In a period that seems to exude busyness, what if we could infuse awe? What if, in some sense, it’s in our ability to create those awe-filled experiences, to tap into that magic that takes us out of the everyday and into those captivating moments? If we could bring that to our families and celebrate that in our classrooms, then we’d offer those future adults these spectacular tools to engage that awe muscle even when the entire world feels out of sync. 

Today’s world looks different than it did five years ago and far different than it did fifty. While there are aspects of similarity and definitive work still to be done, the effects of overwork, continued busyness, burnout, and constant ‘doing’ of life has many at their wit's end. 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Invite more awe

There’s power in taking a break, staying in the present moment, slowing down, channeling that breath, and experiencing awe. There are wellness and spiritual benefits that stay with us for the long haul when we learn to activate our senses, recognize joy, and challenge the stereotypical doing with the bold awareness of being. 

Awe amplifies the extraordinary, elicits that magnetic pull, and fills our cup with magic. 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Invite more awe

Awe lifts us up—and whether it’s a fleeting moment or longer existence, I hope we all get the chance to find it in more of our everyday worlds. Education involves far more than cleverness and books. As we continue to infuse empathy, compassion, authenticity, and other well-being and emotional growth aspects into that life-long education, can we make room for that extra element that has often felt far out of reach? 

As we near the time to turn the calendar and flip to a fresh, blank page, can we dare to dream of a world where we initiate our own magic, encourage each other to seek that experience, and invite more awe into our lives? 

I hope you’ll join me in this awe-inspired adventure. See you out there. 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Invite more awe


5 Ideas to Invite More Awe into our Everyday

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Invite more awe

Seek captivating experiences

Those moments that quite literally take your breath away: these are the ones. But for so long, we’ve thought these are those huge journeys like reaching the top of Everest or free diving with sharks off the coast of wherever. The moments are big because we make them big…but the actual moments can be far tinier than those that involve plane fare. Pay attention to those little things! After all, as Winnie the Pooh reminds us, “enjoy the little things in life…for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Invite more awe

Perhaps your local zoo will let you get close to the animals. Perhaps you can volunteer with those completely different from yourself, or attempt a challenge that’s been on your mind for decades. Maybe you can be the change in the world, or maybe you can hug a stranger and change their entire day. It can be as simple as creating a chalk hopscotch board and watching smiles alight on the faces of walkers, blowing bubbles on your terrace and watching little hands outstretch to catch them, or bringing a bunch of hula hoops to the park and sharing them with strangers. Aim for those experiences that light you up from the inside, you won’t be able to contain the joy.

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Invite more awe

Engage your imagination

Dream—dream often. Give yourself permission to elevate your dreams and let your imagination take flight. Consider the bright eyes of a child when they’ve put that last Lego piece on the giant tower that took them all day to create. Consider the face of a tiny toddler who donned their tutu and stuck that first skateboarding run. Consider the brilliant glow of the teenager who conquered their fears and took those first steps towards a new journey. 

We have the power to create the moments that leave us in goosebumps. We dream in color; let those come alive. The Greatest Showman deftly captures that magic in the song A Million Dreams. Imagine if only we trust our dreams, flex our imagination muscles, and tap into that inner ability to manifest awe.

They can say, they can say it all sounds crazy, they can say, they can say I’ve lost my mind - I don’t care, I don’t care, so call me crazy, we can live in a world that we design…’Cause every night I lie in bed, the brightest colors fill my head, a million dreams are keeping me awake - I think of what the world could be, a vision of the one I see - A million dreams is all it’s gonna take - Oh a million dreams for the world we’re gonna make.

Cultivate your ability to stay in the present moment

Be it meditation, yoga, focus, concentration, breath, or any other choice words, the art of staying in that present moment can bring us to a state of awe. 

Ever just sit and pet a puppy for hours—no phone, no multitasking, no snack…solely puppy? That state of presence brings us closer to awe and the more we access it, the more regularly we can experience it. Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us to “wash the dishes to wash the dishes.” Signifying a state of total focus, no disturbance from outer forces, and our ability to allow thoughts to flow freely through our minds without stealing our attention: when washing the dishes, doing just that—washing the dishes. Continually cultivating that presence brings us closer to awe. 

Perhaps it’s a no-tech dinner, perhaps it’s listening intently without interruption, remaining entrenched in that novel without any guilt or ‘shoulds,’ or any other million manners of events— it’s that single focus that heightens our senses and boosts our proximity to encounters with awe.

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Invite more awe

Experience nature’s gifts

Sometimes we get the opportunity to watch the sun filter amidst the Redwoods, the waves crash on The Great Ocean Road, or the light dance atop Finland’s winter snow. Sometimes we get to experience the vastness of the Sahara, the majesty of the Taj Mahal, or hop a boat from South America’s ‘end of the world’ to explore Antarctica’s shores. 

It doesn’t always have to be that big to feel as strong. It’s in the whistle of a palm tree waving in the wind, the sparkle dancing off that first fall of snow, the moment the lake is fully-frozen and skating can commence, the waddle of a baby seagull as it tests it little legs, the curious smile of a quokka, and the delicate petals of a plumeria. It’s in the tatter of a thunderstorm, the arc of a rainbow, and the rays of the sun as it streaks through Golden Hour. It’s there in the twinkle of the night stars and the colors of a waking sky. Take a moment, breathe the air, feel the sun on your face, let nature in. Once you do, you’ll see awe everywhere.

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Invite more awe

Remember you are filled with magic

Give yourself permission to be your true, authentic, magical self. Eckart Tolle tells us, “You are the Universe expressing yourself as a human for a little while.” Elevate that energy and watch your spirit soar. 

Awe is a gift, as are we. Perhaps it’s not offered as a course in secondary school, or found in any traditional curriculum textbook, but its knowledge is priceless and its presence, powerful. We all have the ability to channel that magic and spend more time in awe-filled adventures. 

Yes, we must be open to the idea. Yes, we must allow ourselves to attempt to accept awe’s importance, and yes, we must be willing to invite that awe into our spaces. But, if for a moment we find ourselves doubting the magnitude of awe, all we need to do is stop for a moment and remember the lights of a billion twinkling stars and hold onto the knowledge that that magic is also within us. 

Through the Eyes of an Educator: Invite more awe



Please click the photo below for a collection of my Through the Eyes of an Educator columns:

Through the Eyes of an Educator: A Compendium


Stacey Ebert, our Educational Travels Editor, is a traveler at heart who met her Australian-born husband while on a trip in New Zealand. Stacey was an extracurricular advisor and taught history in a Long Island public high school for over fifteen years, enjoying both the formal and informal educational practices. After a one year 'round the world honeymoon, travel and its many gifts changed her perspective. She has since left the educational world to focus on writing and travel. She is energetic and enthusiastic about long term travel, finding what makes you happy and making the leap. In her spare time she is an event planner, yogi, dark chocolate lover, and spends as much time as possible with her toes in the sand.

Check out her website at for more of her travel musings.