Mennonite Heritage Village

Awe Makes Life Better – Part Three

by Gary Dyck

After two weeks of learning how awe helps our mental health and increases altruism, we now turn to how to daily practice this underused emotion. You don’t want to miss out on developing this practice, as David Robins in his BBC article on Awe stated: “feelings of awe can have a truly profound influence on the mind – enhancing our memory and creativity as well as inspiring us to act more altruistically to the people around us. It can also have a profound impact on our mental health, by allowing us to put our anxieties into perspective. The aim, in each case, is to evoke awe.”

The first step is to have moments each day where we are curious and open to what life is sharing with us. Currently, some of us are becoming too fixated and ruminating on dark topics. To reset, let’s take a week off from all media. Move to some rich music with quality headphones on or read a profound book while periodically looking out the window to marvel about the author’s ideas.

Go on an awe walk. Awe walks help to open our eyes to the wonders that are already around us. A study on emotion in the U.S. found that awe did not wane but increased the more awe walks participants took. An awe walk could be seeing something new or just approaching something you took for granted with a refreshed sense of curiousity. Awe walking is not about completing your exercise for the day, but being ready to stop and watch the birds, noticing the colour palette on a house or listening to the wind. The Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) is open year-round and is a great place to try out awe walking, even in winter!

If you can’t get outside, flex your awe muscle by visiting the ever-changing hallway exhibits at the Steinbach Arts Council. Their current Quiet Folklore and the Things No One Knows Exhibit with its combination of nature and folklore looks fascinating. In Winnipeg, the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery at the Canadian Mennonite University is hosting an exhibit from Lake Winnipeg area painter Jane Gateson. She says, “Nature is a great teacher. Often, with whimsy and humour and sometimes with harsh reality, truths are offered about the cycle of birth, life, death and renewal.”

Besides our two exhibit rooms, MHV has a regular community exhibit in our hallway, intricate embroidery and quilt work showcased in the Quilting Room, and another exhibit on windmills of the world in our auditorium. Five exhibits within a few steps from each other! Well worth the price of the discounted winter admission rates.

The possibilities for experiencing awe are as infinite as the universe and its Creator. Choose your experience daily and attend to the extraordinary in our world.

Upcoming Events:

MHV’s galleries and Village Books & Gifts are open Tuesday to Saturday, 9am – 5pm. Our award-winning ‘Mennonites at War’ exhibit is also available online. Keep checking our website for upcoming events, including our popular author nights.

Free Skating Saturdays, 9am – 5pm. Our staff and volunteers have worked hard to prepare the ice rink beside our General Store in the village. A ‘tin for the bin’ food donation for the food bank, is all you need to enjoy free skating on Saturdays. Bring your friends and family and enjoy a great setting for skating!

Winter Carnival, February 19, 9am – 5pm. Save the date for our annual Winter Carnival! Admission is free and there will be plenty of fun activities for all ages. Proof of vaccination will be required.