"We just believed in ourselves and we knew that we had an entire city and maybe an entire country behind us ... What can I say? I tried to imagine what this moment would be like for a long time and it's better than expected." - Drew Brees, Gainesville Sun
There was no doubt Sunday morning that the Saints were going to win the Superbowl (sorry Colts fans). And I say that as someone not personally invested in football or any spectator sports, even though I currently happen to live in Who Dat Nation of New Orleans.
It's a strange, yet familiar feeling when certainty is palpable.
But that's how it felt. Definite.
The only other thing this moment I feel definite about is that the stories we tell ourselves and share with ourselves are changing, radically. I've been hesitant to dive in publicly, because sometimes - well, ofttimes, pioneers are ignored. Their travels can easily become travails.
I felt I made more headway traversing the terrain alone, until now.
I just read in the New York Times that the old journalism adage "fear sells" (a variation of "if it bleeds, it leads") is losing its grip. A study they conducted showed that the stories that were the most passed along and shared with others had only one pattern, one trait, one emotion in common.
Can you guess?
You know don't you?
They all instilled awe.
They enlarged our view of the world from cozy confines into the mysterious (to us, anyhow).
"Building on prior research, the Penn researchers defined the quality as an “emotion of self-transcendence, a feeling of admiration and elevation in the face of something greater than the self.”
They used two criteria for an awe-inspiring story: Its scale is large, and it requires “mental accommodation” by forcing the reader to view the world in a different way.
“It involves the opening and broadening of the mind,” write Dr. Berger and Dr. Milkman, who is a behavioral economist at Wharton.
“Seeing the Grand Canyon, standing in front of a beautiful piece of art, hearing a grand theory or listening to a beautiful symphony may all inspire awe. So may the revelation of something profound and important in something you may have once seen as ordinary or routine, or seeing a causal connection between important things and seemingly remote causes.”
The motivation for mailing these awe-inspiring articles is not as immediately obvious as with other kinds of articles, Dr. Berger said. Sharing recipes or financial tips or medical advice makes sense according to classic economic utility theory: I give you something of practical value in the hope that you’ll someday return the favor."
p.s. Yes, I know I'm still kind of wobbly, constricted and stilted with this blogging. I know without doubt I'll be speaking soon without the self-protectiveness. Practice, practice. As my teacher Adyashanti says, "The way you open your heart is you use it. We're not used to using our heart - because we're protecting it."
Bonus: Neil Gaiman does a superb job in the novel, "Anansi Boys," of describing the old stories, how the brute-force eat-or-be-eaten Tiger stories lost their hold, and then Anansi stories of wit and mindful-cunning replaced them. (Allow wonder to whisper in between words a bit about the new type of stories.) Listen here:The Princess and the Frog courtesy Disney; a scene behind the scenes in A Midsummer Night's Dream, 2007 New Orleans, by the excellent subculture photographer, Craig Morse