“Your Collective Impact Begins by Sharing”

One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
Albert Einstein  1879 – 1955

Awe is an emotion variously combining veneration, wonder and at times dread that is inspired by a greatness with which nothing else can be compared and which is beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement or imitation. Our world and the process of daily living are awe-inspiring. It is through the rediscovery of awe by way of ones sensibilities that the world becomes once again sacred. It becomes a place in which ones aspirations are at their least to do no harm (as David Orr states) or at their best to regenerate.

Cultivating and connecting with awe is the next forefront for many diverse fields including architecture and design, organizational leadership, and ecological resource management.Whether in the midst of our landscapes, our classrooms, our community, or our structures, being in awe of the mystery of our reality should be a part of our everyday experience. In helping others cultivate a deep sense of awe, we believe that there are set of important sensibilities that must be cultivated. (Note: Ones sensibility refers to an acute perception of or responsiveness toward something. Sensibility is neither emotion nor knowledge alone but rather the intimate combination of the two.) These sensibilities are not intended to be a distinct and finite set of categories or types but rather a representation of the dynamics of human thinking and value systems that ebb and flow, mix and match, in the process of learning, living and being in this world.

The following highlights the seven sensibilites and provides several key resources that will help to imbark on these sensibilities:

Sense of Self: A sense of ones inner landscape–informed by ones efficacy, mental models, knowledge and skills-together with the fuzzy boundaries of the physical and spiritual body in connection with all things.

Sense of Place: A sense of the natural and cultural characteristics independent of any one individual’s perceptions or experiences that make a place special or unique and foster deep attachment and belonging.

Sense of Commons: A sense of the creations of nature and society that we inherent jointly and freely, and hold in trust for future generations.

  • Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future by Bill McKibben 2007



Sense of Systems: A sense of the whole whose mutually interacting dynamical parts constantly evolve and unfold over time in an unpredictable manner.


  • Sustainability Education: Re-visioning Learning and Change, Stephen Sterling, 2001 Schumacher Briefing


Sense of Diversity: A sense of appreciation for the strength of distinct or unlike elements or qualities.

Sense of Design: A sense of the eloquent management of constraints and innovations that underpins every form of creation.


  • Seven Wonders: Everyday Things for a Healthier Planet by John C. Ryan 1999
  • The Nature of Design: Ecology, Culture, and Human Intention by David W. Orr  2004
  • Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, William McDonough and Michael Braungart


Sense of Hope: A sense of believing that a positive outcome is possible.


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