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Several nights ago, walking home from the grocery store and with nothing in my head beyond dinner, I looked up and saw a curved, golden sliver in the sky, close to the horizon. It was the waning crescent moon. Straight over the golden sliver shone two planets. I knew that they were planets, not stars, because they didn't twinkle. Their lights were steady. I put my bags down on a (fairly clean) rock and asked Google what was in the night sky over Tel Aviv; the two planets were Mercury and Jupiter. Isn't it strange how knowing something's name makes you feel like you possess it? So I stood on the sidewalk, wondering if by-passers would think I was just a crazy old lady, or if anyone would look up and witness the beauty too, and be awed and thankful like me. Then I stopped caring. Because the beauty of this extra-terrestrial vision was mine alone to feel. I still hold it in my mind's eye. But yes, mine alone. Even if my face lifted to the night sky intrigued someone else to look up. I think that we sustain and nurture ourselves when we witness what moves our spirits, and allow it to fill us. It's our capacity, or desire, to be open to it. The magic is always there. It's up to each one to see it.

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Love this --- thank you.

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Such a beautiful celebration of wonder. Thank you. 💚

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Oohhhh this is so beautiful and I’m so honoured! Thank you, you magical person 🤍🤍🤍

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Thank you for the gift of the book. I truly loved it.

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Feb 28, 2023Liked by Elissa Altman

So exquisitely beautiful in all your emotions and honesty!

Having lived into my early 80's, I find awe even more essential to my wellbeing. Slowing down and risking the figurative (for me) dip in the Atlantic's frigid waters, offers me the experiences of not missing what I have taken for granted more often than not. Really seeing whatever I am looking at; really hearing what I am listening to, and so forth have opened whole new dimensions to me of the totally breathtaking world we are so fortunate to live in. In the face of so much negativity and hate, it is a matter of soul survival for me.

I am so glad my friend introduced me to your writing. Blessings.

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Thank you so much, Penny -- Your words are very wise. I'm glad you're here -- E

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Feb 28, 2023Liked by Elissa Altman

This is gorgeous, Elissa—particularly this about the water, the weeping, which I too experienced. I stood at the shore during Katherine’s retreat in December, watching the others swim, and I cried a little for a yearning I couldn’t define, wishing I could let myself be one of them. How remarkable you felt it, too. Thank you. What a dream of a piece: two luminous voices I love. Katherine’s work means the world to me and yours is always a gift.

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Feb 28, 2023Liked by Elissa Altman

This was so needed today. Thank you. I’ve become an awe hunter and feel so affirmed that the path I’m on is the right one when I read this. I also will send wishes for you that a cold water dip of your wanting might find you. The last two years of dipping have truly awakened my awe radar and reset my spirits.

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An AWE hunter. I love that. Thank you - E

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I've always particularly enjoyed the unedited versions of On Being podcasts because all of those very human sounds are left in there. My favorite is her exquisite interview with Mary Oliver. I remember walking along listening to it and suddenly hearing a familiar thwack. Is that what I think it is? I backed up and listened again, and sure enough. There was the sound of Mary hitting her new pack of cigarettes against her palm- thwack, thwack-- to pack the tobacco down. It's a sound I've made hundreds of times my own self, and it humanized her in an instant. Mary Oliver-- poet, neighbor, lover of the natural world, maybe a saint (certainly in my book), but also just a woman who loved a good smoke at the right moment, just like an actual, imperfect, real person. It made me feel quite tender.

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I absolutely loved that one too, for so many reasons, but in particular that one.

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The best. You can hear Mary smoking. Also, John O’Donohue’s.

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Loved this, Elissa. Thank you. Krista recently spoke with Dacher Keltner on the science of awe. You probably listened- it was fascinating.

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Thank you!

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Such a lovely write-up. Elissa, I'm currently reading 'Soulbriety' and I am hooked, and learning so much. Thank you for your work <3

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Thanks Emma --

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Mar 1, 2023Liked by Elissa Altman

That kind of day—two days, actually—that kept me from this until now. And I'm so glad I waited. There was a time, living in New York, working at an office full time, when I was proud to call myself a cynic. Badge of honor, a prominent piece of my identity. I've softened, I suppose, but it's more than that: Thanks to circumstances, the path I've traveled since that time, and the person I married, my certainty, my armor, has fallen away. And I am sure of very little these days—except the need for what sustains us as human beings. There's the obvious—for me: deep, meaningful connections; working with words; and lots of quiet and solitude—but also the less obvious, like making room for the magic, the unexplained, the moment when something shifts and life feels fragile but also astonishing. You're the writer, so I'll leave it there. Mostly I wanted to thank you for one of your most beautiful—and astonishing—reflections.

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Thank you so very much, Nancy.

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Mar 1, 2023Liked by Elissa Altman

Thank you. You may not be totally aware but your writing nourishes old financially lacking folks like myself to reflect positively. 👏👍🙏🙏❤️

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Gorgeous, Elissa. Thank you. And I am now excited to pick up Enchantment.

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Feb 28, 2023Liked by Elissa Altman

Wow

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This is a gem. I was right there with you with the flakes coming down. It was calming to read. Our relationship with awe and wonder is so important too - looking forward to reading Enchantment. Thank you for the preview.

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Thank you ❤️

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Beautiful Elissa!

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