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A Total Eclipse of the Heart: Leaning into the Awe of Nature

Idaho 2017. Viewing the solar eclipse.

Feel all the feels of this solar eclipse. It's not about totality, it's about awe.

Monday, April 8th, 2024 marks another solar eclipse that will cross the eastern part of the United States. It promises to be an extraordinary experience that instills awe.

The term "awe" is defined by Merriam-Websters dictionary as "an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime."

There is nothing like the sky growing dark, the wind picking up, animals getting freaked out, and the intense beauty surrounding us as the moon positions itself in front of the sun to help us zoom out.

Observing nature is about leaning into the awe, of understanding how small we are, and how fleeting this existence is, while also appreciating the wide expanse beyond.

As founder of OneGreenThing, I have to admit that launching my book 60 Days to a Greener Life, tomorrow April 9, right after a solar eclipse seems important. Every chapter is a day, and "Day 1" is entitled "Go Outside & Find the Awe." How cool is that?

Spend a few minutes -- even if you are nowhere near totality -- and go outside and soak up the wonder. Take this feeling with you throughout the week and plan more time in nature to lower your blood pressure, lower your cortisol, and increase your sense of well-being. Research shows that enjoying even five minutes in nature has physical and mental health benefits.

After totality. Idaho, 2017. (They wore the special glasses, I promise!)
Here are some ideas on how to celebrate the eclipse by Service Superpower:

  • Adventurers: Make sure you spend some time outside during the eclipse -even if you aren't near totality. Don't look up without your glasses!

  • Beacons: Learn more about the nonprofit Dark Sky International that advocates to reduce light pollution.

  • Influencers: Share your favorite eclipse images on social media.

  • Philanthropists: Take this feeling of awe with you throughout the week and make a plan to visit your local park.

  • Sages: Journal for five minutes. Write down how the experience of the eclipse made you feel - even if you aren't near totality - observe the sky and your surroundings.

  • Spark: Make a promise to a friend that you'll pay special attention to a sense of wonder during the eclipse. Then note the next eclipse at this scale in North America will be in 20 years. Think about what the future in 2044 might be like and share your thoughts with a friend.

  • Wonk: Read this article in the Washington Post about how small towns across America will be helping out with cutting-edge science during the eclipse.


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