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Clouds.The way they light up the sky, alter its colours––they act like a prism on my mood. No matter how I feel, a cloud at dusk will always make me stop, gaze at the sky, absorb its pastel skies and neon reflections, smile, and walk on feeling warm and happy.––––––––––––––––Mathieu RagueneauParis

Clouds.
The way they light up the sky, alter its colours––they act like a prism on my mood. No matter how I feel, a cloud at dusk will always make me stop, gaze at the sky, absorb its pastel skies and neon reflections, smile, and walk on feeling warm and happy.

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Mathieu Ragueneau
Paris

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The mercy of God

I grew up without religion or spirituality, and was your typical teenage atheist. But at the age of 11, I began what turned out to be 13 years of severe depression, anxiety, and psychosis. They called it depression but I wasn’t sad - I was terrified. I hated myself and was convinced that everyone else hated me too. I would work myself into a frenzy of self harming every night - every night for 13 years, until I would find myself laying on the floor, gasping, too tired to continue, and I would pray for death.

Every time this happened, God came a little closer. Because when you’re at your most vulnerable, that’s when the monsters have done their work - and God comes over and says, “I still love you. I still love you, when you’re lying here helpless. I love you even when you’re completely lost from yourself.”

I didn’t “Find God”. I didn’t convert. I didn’t read a book to learn what God was about. I just felt something, over those years, pulling me up gently over and over again like an invisible string. Sometimes with my eyes closed, I would feel the room fill with light, and a warmth wash over me.

Now at the age of 24, the darkness is gone. The pain is gone. And every day I am thankful for His mercy. This song, Never Let Me Go, is exactly how God feels to me - and makes me feel awe every time I hear it. This feeling of being loved so unconditionally makes me cry and laugh at the same time. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMBTvuUlm98

www.kaylaramsay.com

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Awesome Variety

I am working towards my master’s degree in neuroscience. My field is absolutely incredible, and there are tiny moments of awe peeking out at me all the time. For example- there are a over a thousand times more synapses (points where neurons communicate) in your brain than there are stars in the entire Milky Way galaxy. And yet these rattle away in almost perfect harmony for your entire life, whether or not you know they’re there.

But it was several days ago that learning about neuroscience actually gave me a physical sensation of awe. I was sitting in the library reading the book Connectome, by Sebastian Seung. Overall, the book is just okay, but there was one part that really moved me. Seung was describing how the arrangement of synapses in our brain could be one of the main things that determines the wide range of mental differences between people, and that this arrangement might be largely due to random chance.

I sat back in my chair, and my mind filled with the incredible, stunning variety of humanity. Introverted, extroverted, gay, straight, alcoholic, genius, bi-polar, claustrophobic, funny, obsessive-compulsive, musical, and on and on. I felt like we were all part of one fabric, and we should all work as hard as we can to respect and preserve the truly awesome richness of our species. For a moment, I felt as thought I had glimpsed something behind the scenes, beyond anyone’s control, that shapes our humanity, and it made me feel connected to every other person on the planet. And it made me love them.

Peter Hildebrand, East Hartford, CT

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I feel awe and the most alive in the early summer mornings standing out amidst the fields, hoe in hand while the sun begins to crest the horizon. The silence is the sound of peace and timelessness. A cool breeze whispers across the land. The world lights up with rustic oranges, yellows, scarlets, and golds. About my boots, the blossoming plants innocently reach towards the sky. From a tiny seed those same crops instinctively knew when it was time to grow. They already know what they are supposed to become. Who told them?
This is my sanctuary. This is where I find God. 
I hope this email finds you well,
-Allie
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My brother Dan regularly inspires awe in me.  He is a 27-year old man with Down syndrome who lives at home in Philadelphia with my parents.  Dan has this tendency to change the lives of those around him without even trying.  He’s one of the funniest and wittiest people I know, dangerously charming and full of life.  One of the most awe-inspiring things about Dan is his ability to express his emotions without hesitating, and more importantly, without censoring what he is feeling.  If he was reading your blog right now and all of the awesome submissions you’ve gotten and posted there, he might be bawling his eyes out.  Whereas I sometimes struggle to express emotions when I most need to, it seems Dan has never been afraid to let it all out.  Sometimes this is a source of frustration for me, that Dan doesn’t keep the tears from flowing even when someone he barely knows passes away, for example.  Living in this city has made me feel as though I need to develop some hard, unbreakable outer shell in order to survive.  But I am amazed at Dan’s refusal to compromise what he is feeling, regardless of the time, place, or event to which he is reacting.  I’ve learned a great deal from Dan about how to feel, and that’s an awesome thing.

Several years ago Dan and my other brother Will began a documentary project about Dan’s life, focusing primarily on his transition from high school to the work force and adulthood.  One scene from the documentary centers around Dan learning about the death of someone he knew and demonstrates how Dan reacts to and copes with such news.  The scene does a good job of explaining this awe-inspiring thing about Dan.  It’s super embarrassing because in the clip I’m 16 years old and have braces!  But I’d like to share it anyway.

(Just FYI, a blog accompanies the film project and is widely read by fans of Dan, friends, parents of children with special needs, and educators and is definitely worth checking out if you’re at all interested in the documentary! dandrinker.com)

-Emily Drinker

Brooklyn, NY

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Row 14 - Barcelona. 

You walk in and your jaw is on the floor. Im not even a big music person but that place is unlike anything I have ever experienced. 

Erica
New York

Row 14 - Barcelona. 

You walk in and your jaw is on the floor. Im not even a big music person but that place is unlike anything I have ever experienced. 
Erica
New York
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Watching the moon rise over the ocean after reading A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson on the beach all day. Try it and tell me if I’m not totally right.

Rob Carlson

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I am awed by the power of belief.  Belief is capable of rejecting the undeniable and embracing the unbelievable.  Belief is the portal to an infinite number of possible realities.  Near 7 billion people, 7 billion realities, all different; now that’s awesome!

Dick Hall

Aberdeen, UK

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Taken from the same park as the Ellis Island rainbow photo.
Jeanette Taibi

Taken from the same park as the Ellis Island rainbow photo.

Jeanette Taibi

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Björn

Hamburg, Germany