This is the second one of a series of interviews that I have been doing with very inspiring people about the importance and need of proactively seeking awe-inspiring moments in our lives. They also shared what inspires them and how to live a fulfilling life.
This time I interviewed Gail Mooney, an excellent photographer and filmmaker who has traveled the world for over 30 years shooting for international companies and publications. Her latest project is the inspiring documentary Opening Our Eyes, where she and her daughter embarked on a journey around the world in the summer of 2010 to document and film the stories of 11 individuals on 6 continents – ordinary people who are following their own dreams, passions and ambitions and doing extraordinary things.
Without further ado, the interview…
Q. Do you think that ‘awe’ can be cultivated the same way as gratefulness or happiness?
A. Yes, when we open our minds and suspend our perceptions and previous understandings, we are cultivating “awe”. We must allow ourselves to be vulnerable, more accepting and less “in control” and in essence, be authentic to our true selves to be able to experience awe and wonder.
Q. How are awe-inspiring moments related to being present in the moment?
A. When we are “present” and “in the moment”, we are taking notice of what is happening in the “now”. When we aren’t dwelling on the past, or looking forward to tomorrow – we are living in the “now” – which is all we have. When we live in the now, we recognize the awe-inspiring moments that are otherwise lost.
Q. What role does it play in your fulfillment in life to surround yourself with inspiring people, books, videos, audios or nature?
A. There is so much “noise” in our lives; it’s difficult to just “live” without a constant barrage of distractions. I think having a balance in life is always good. I take time to get together with good friends I can converse with, read, and watch inspiring films, listen to music and get out into nature. I try to tune into what my mind and soul are in need of.
Q. Where do you get your inspiration from?
A. Everywhere. My inspiration can come from a conversation that I have with someone on an airplane or from a quote I see online. It can come from a book, a film or from watching the waves roll in on the ocean. I think the key to finding inspiration is by taking notice of the fleeting thoughts that run through your mind.
Q. What’s the easiest way to live a fulfilling life?
A. I’m not so sure that living a fulfilling life has to necessarily be “easy”. Living a fulfilling life means being true to your self. Too many times people strive to be like everyone else.
I remember when I was younger and I would plead with my parents to let me do something and go somewhere because “everyone else is”. I also remember my parents telling me that it doesn’t matter that “everyone else is doing it” and that I should think for myself. They were right and I’m thankful that I grew up with their wise guidance.
Q. What do we need to stop doing in order to live a more fulfilling life?
A. We need to stop equating “things” with happiness. We are an incredibly consumer oriented culture and we place too much importance on what money can buy. We need to spend more time listening to our inner voices. Only then will we find our purpose in life – the “why” we are here. We need to tune into our inner voices and tune out the “noise” and start living the lives we are meant to live. And we need to stop fearing “change”.
Q. What daily habits/rituals do you recommend to practice appreciation?
A. Quiet time or meditation, physical exercise, reading, continual learning, giving to others, being grateful and creating.
Q. How can amazement and appreciation impact people and the world?
A. I think when we can live our lives with wonder and awe, we become less judgmental. We are more open and tolerant and that leads to a better understanding and appreciation for the unknown or the unfamiliar. Imagine how that can impact people and our planet.
Q. What change in the world would make you feel most awe-inspired?
A. If we became less of a consumer culture, we would place less importance on what a person has and more importance on who a person is. We would strive to become individuals, who would contribute to society, rather than to feed a constant need or desire to acquire material possessions, which ultimately don’t make us happy. If we don’t tune into who we are as individuals we will never realize our purpose. When we start to tap into our soul and our authentic selves, we will experience awe and wonder.
Thank you Gail for your time and inspiring thoughts.
You can see Gail Mooney’s work at www.kellymooney.com and her documentary film following the link at the beginning of this interview.
Image source: http://openingoureyes.net/2010/06/