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Are You in Awe, or Are You Bored?



 

I was hiking at Mason Neck State Park over the weekend and nearly walked past a turtle right in the middle of the path. It was surprising to me that this little creature didn't immediately retreat into its shell. It stayed very still, so I bent down to take a really good look. Behind me, I could hear a couple of other hikers approaching. As they came up, one of them looked at the turtle and said, "Oh yeah. That's a box turtle. They're all over Virginia (yawn)." The second hiker immediately bent down to check out this turtle, commented how amazing it was and noticed its vivid red eyes. He snapped a few photos and then both hikers continued on. As they walked away, I realized what a distinct and almost opposite reaction each of the hikers had. To one, this was nothing to make note of at all. To the other, it was something worth pausing and noticing. It's not often I've come across a turtle that close that lets me get a really good look at its coloring, claws, and the intricate patterns on the shell. I started thinking about the lens we view the world through and got curious about whether that lens sets us up for awe, or sets us up for boredom. If you identify as being Neurodivergent in any way, you may find yourself experiencing both boredom and sensory overload. It’s important to continue to develop self-awareness around what your needs are in this area. The experience of awe is a practice of mindfulness and can give our tired brains and nervous systems a respite from the noise of the world. Is there something in your life that you're looking at day in and day out that feels boring? If so, what might be needed to shift the lens to one of awe and wonder?

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