Finding Moments of 'Awe'

Joshua Neudel, Head of Upper School
For the past week, I have gone outside in the evening and looked up at the night sky, hoping for a clear night where the stars were visible. About two weeks ago, I received an email from my dad about a recently discovered green comet that would be visible from Earth for the first time in 50,000 years. I was amazed by the opportunity to see clearly the rarity of a green comet and the fact that this comet that skirts across the outermost lists of our solar system would not be visible from Earth again for another 50,000 years or 2,000 generations. 
On January 3, 2023, Hope Reese published an article in The New York Times titled "How a Bit of Awe Can Improve Your Health." The article shared a synopsis to research that showed how experiencing moments of awe can positively impact a person’s physical and mental health - slowing heart rates, deepening breathing, and helping digestion. The scientific research published in Nature and referenced in the Times article also indicated that awe can help move a person’s focus away from themselves, suppressing negative self-thinking.  
In essence, whether it is major awe-inspiring events such as experiencing the Grand Canyon for the first time, seeing a newborn baby, listening to a feel-good story on the news, or just the simple moments during the day, catching the scent of freshly cut flowers, the feeling of watching a perfectly timed pass result in a beautiful goal or basket, or feeling a crackling fire in winter, finding moments of awe can help lead to joy and balance. 
When I shared this message with the Upper School during Morning Meeting, I asked them to try to pay attention to those moments during the day when they are struck by awe - the ones that stop them in their tracks. In those moments, if they can take a step back and appreciate them, they will find that the stress of the day and moment will begin to melt away. 
For me, I’ll continue to wish for a clear night to catch a glimpse of a green comet moving across the nighttime sky. I hope that as we move into February, which can sometimes feel like the longest month of the school year, we can pause to experience awe.
As an inclusive private school community, Brimmer welcomes students who will increase the diversity of our school. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, gender, gender identity and expression, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, or any other characteristic protected from discrimination under state or federal law, in the administration of our educational policies, admissions practices, financial aid decisions, and athletic and other school-administered programs.