Monday, January 14, 2013


Whoosh:  a feeling of joy that suddenly bursts forth, thrills, excites and touches your innermost being.


Have you ever experienced a whoosh event?  In a New York Times column dated 12/31/10 and titled The Arena Culture David Brooks suggests that in our modern world we often find out whoosh in the sports arena.


He says, “Spiritually unmoored, many people nonetheless experience intense elevation during the magical moments that sport often affords. Dreyfus and Kelly, authors of A Shining Moment mention the mood that swept through the crowd at Yankee Stadium when Lou Gehrig delivered his “Luckiest Man Alive” speech, or the mood that swept through Wimbledon as Roger Federer completed one of his greatest matches.

The most real things in life, they write, well up and take us over. They call this experience “whooshing up.” We get whooshed up at a sports arena, at a political rally or even at magical moments while woodworking or walking through nature.”

My Women in Transition group discussed “whooshes” during our January meeting.  Some mentioned helping others, being in relationships, writing.  I’m not sure these are true whoosh events.  While they may give satisfaction and/or fulfillment over a long period—and they do for me, too--I don’t think that are what David Brooks had it mind. 


I think he was talking about a momentary event, brief but exhilarating.  An ordinary event that suddenly jolts you into awareness that this is the beauty of life.  Or an event you share with others, that makes you feel part of a community.  Yes, it can be sports.  Growing up in Austin, Texas where not loving football would have made you an outsider, I remember when singing “The Eyes of Texas” and standing for the kickoff gave me that glorious feeling of belonging…to a group of like-minded fans, to Texas, to the best state in the Union. 


And being a Texan, coming upon a field of bluebonnets for the first time each spring, gives me that same whoosh of pleasure. 


Or seeing a place I’ve always dreamed of visiting:  Monte Alban near Oaxaca, the shore by Galipoli, Notre Dame—travel brings me that same feeling of exhaltation. 


You might think widows wouldn’t feel those intense moments any more, but I still do.  From many things--Beethoven’s Ninth, driving through the mountains, looking up on a clear, star-filled night, fireworks on the Fourth of July, the scent of magnolia.

Even though you have no one to share them with, if you pay attention, you’ll still find those experiences that bring you joy.


What gives you a whoosh? 





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