The Coach's Corner

In awe of the eclipse

The Coach’s Corner Newsletter #44

Sitting outside a Denver-area restaurant with my friend, Frances, on Monday we used our MedOptics glasses to view the partial eclipse.

Oh my gosh you can see it’s happening! This is amazing!!

Our enthusiasm and exclamations over the next 14 minutes encouraged people near us to venture close and ask if they might borrow our glasses so they could get a look, too.

You can still see it’s shifting, very cool!

Their reactions were priceless – a sense of camaraderie and connection with total strangers. Possibly the first time since COVID that someone was brave enough to ask to share glasses with me – and I with them!

Then my daughter-in-law, Noelle, sent me her amazing photo of the eclipse in the image I shared above – wow! In Texas she could see it all.

In the next few days, my clients, some of whom experienced total darkness, opened our sessions talking about their experience with the eclipse as if it was still taking place.

It was completely dark and I wished I’d worn a warmer jacket because it really felt cold. And then the birds from next door – you wouldn’t believe the squawking they were making!

How this event – one that many of us set aside time to observe – elicited this kind of exhilaration reminds me of the power awe has to impact us when we least expect.

This is the awe that shows up in joy, tears or goosebumps. And I know that the more awe I experience every day, the better I function in work and life.


In awe of the eclipse

When I watch or listen to this video, it’s as if the eclipse is what I need to jumpstart my desire to pay attention to what’s around me.

In every interaction since Monday afternoon, the conversation has opened with what folks are noticing. First, they bring up the eclipse.

When Elaine shared how her son had gotten off the bus just in time to watch the eclipse with her and her husband, she got emotional.

His reaction, our reactions, so powerful and emotional. Why don’t we take time to do more things like this together? It’s all about the experience.

Jeff described how he had to return to work from home because his office was closed for the eclipse.

I felt like I had this jolt of energy to reach out to customers I’ve been neglecting. They answered and now I’m back in touch. Wow!

After the eclipse, Monica felt the urge to make a decision she’s been wavering on for months.

You won’t believe what I did. I said ‘no’ to someone asking me to engage in a project. I have too much on my plate and right now I want to focus on a specific area of my work. Was it the eclipse? I don’t know. I just know I was ready to release this part of my life right then and there.

It’s the awe that sticks with me as I consider the eclipse effect. The great news is that awe is all around me, when I pay attention.



Finding moments of awe every day

It turns out that gathering together, as many did to watch the eclipse, creates a collective sense of awe. You might notice a similar emotion or experience at a concert, or on a hike through the forest with friends or watching the NCAA Women’s (or Men’s) Basketball finals!

Dacher Keltner is a psychologist at UC Berkeley, and the author of Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life

In our research, people report feeling awe twice a week – and they’re not all flying to the Grand Canyon. More often, awe is about other people. Like, I can’t believe how that little girl can rock climb or, I can’t believe how kind that guy was, and you get teary. It isn’t just about grand edifices.

Keltner’s research confirms that feeling wonder on a regular basis benefits your physical and mental wellbeing.

You don’t have to venture far to discover awe, as Eleanor Morgan writes in the Guardian.

Credit: Eleanor Morgan

My takeaway

This has been a week of awe.

  • Spring is emerging in Colorado and we have blossoming trees, bunnies and tulips/daffodils/crocus everywhere! I’m blown away every single year.
  • I took part in a March Madness pool, feeling great for the first few days and becoming totally invisible by the end of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final. (Houston, next time!) And following NCAA Women’s Basketball championships and being part of the huge ratings bump for an amazing series of games. Simply amazing!
  • Then came the eclipse – offering me a great time of connection and an emotional boost. And clearly I wasn’t alone!

While the grand moments are spectacular, I’ve been finding awe in my everyday life. Today I’m noticing the squirrel on the fence, the hostas pushing their way through the ground and my 3-year old grandson hitting a ‘three’ in our backyard basketball hoop.

Where are you finding awe?

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.

W.B. Yeats


Table of Contents

Additional Articles

Listen First

The Coach’s Corner Newsletter #47 Just before game 5 of the NBA playoff series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets, starting point

Read More »

Clutter and your brain

The Coach’s Corner Newsletter #45 Clutter isn’t just one thing, it’s: A confused multitude of things, as defined by Clutter shows up in many

Read More »