Awe And Wonder: Keys To Living A Passionate Life with Gregg Levoy

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This far-ranging dialogue is full of stories that will inspire and delight. Levoy speaks about a sense of wonder as being the active ingredient in a passionate life, and how even suffering and restlessness can be explored with curiosity. He tells us that wonder can offer us the adaptive benefit of free cognitive upgrades. You’ll be encouraged by his advice to approach the obstacles and unknowns in our lives with a sense of adventure. Even small movements will propel us toward a more passionate life. “The application of small amounts of energy with some consistency over time is what makes some of the big changes in our lives happen,” says Levoy. He reminds us that we are “nature deprived” and are not meant to be sitting in chairs in front of computers day and night. He encourages us to get out of our heads and more into our bodies. Included in this dialogue are his thoughts on intimate relationships and the need for a healthy distance between two people, telling us that a “spark requires a gap.” Levoy also discusses the unconscious tactic of blocking experiences by saying “no” or by making no decisions at all. Saying “yes” more often, he believes, can have the effect of bringing us back to our sense of aliveness and passion. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Gregg Levoy is a former adjunct professor of journalism at the University of New Mexico, and former columnist and reporter for USA Today and the Cincinnati Enquirer. He’s written for the New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, Omni, and Psychology Today. He has presented lectures and seminars for the Smithsonian Institution, Environmental Protection Agency, Microsoft, National Conference on Positive Aging, American Counseling Association, National Career Development Association, and others.

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To learn more about the work of Gregg Levoy go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • What is a cognitive upgrade
  • Why is it important to take risks
  • What is the trimtab factor
  • How can we make big changes with little effort
  • In what ways is curiosity ridiculed
  • What are some ways to explore suffering and restlessness creatively
  • Why is it important to connect with nature
  • Why is distance important for keeping passion alive in relationships
  • Can a relationship be both secure and passionate
  • How can saying “yes” more often make a difference

Host: Justine Willis Toms   Interview Date: 4/16/2015   Program Number: 3539

Music Playlist

From Album: Fingerdance
Artist: Billy McLaughlin
1996 Narada #ND-61058

Essay Music: Track 04 The Happy Archer
Music Break 1: Track 01 Fingerdance
Music Break 2: Track 03 Helms Place
Music Break 3: Track 06 While She Sleeps