Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl


Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow. ~Steve Jobs’ last words

That these were Steve Jobs’ last words, or really anyone’s last words, captures our imagination. A message from the threshold of death, from one perhaps seeing something marvelous, unable to describe it, simply expressing wonder.

We might think that what is being seen is what is beyond, on the other side of death, what awaits us when we cross that liminal space. I thought that, too. But the more I contemplated this intriguing deathbed utterance, the more I considered that what he saw was not beyond death, unattainable by the living, but what has been here all along, what is here right now, available to us all in every moment.

Most of us live our lives in the virtual reality of our thoughts, of the stories we tell ourselves–about ourselves and the world we live in and those who live in it with us. What we experience is not real, but rather a reaction to what we are telling ourselves about what we perceive. This is why two people can be present at the same event, yet can experience the event is such radically different ways.

Anais Nin said, “We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.” Our very perception is inextricably entwined with the beliefs we’ve chosen to embrace.

We can choose differently. Not just different beliefs, but to suspend belief. To see, as the Bible says, not through a glass darkly, but face to face.

How do we do that? Steve Jobs’ last words offer a suggestion. WOW–Watch, Open, Wait.


Observe what is happening right here, right now. We spend most of our time somewhere else in some other time. Meanwhile, we are missing our lives, our real lives. We can begin to awaken by watching…everything. Not everything you think is happening or should be happening, but what is really happening. This might be something external in your surroundings, or internal in your feelings or thoughts. Don’t assume or desire, but simply watch.


Be curious rather than judgmental about what is happening. Catch yourself before you start telling yourself a story about what is happening. Recognize fear or anxiety or resistance and breathe into it. Relax and allow your evaluation, whether positive or negative, to fall away. Open yourself to fully welcome the present moment, whatever it brings.


Pause before you jump to a conclusion or take action. Release the need to know or understand or have a plan. Waiting doesn’t mean being passive, but rather alert. It means not trying to control circumstances or direct a particular outcome. Allow the way to reveal itself to you in its own time. You will know what to do, if anything, when it is time to do it. Then doing will simply “happen.”

When we follow these steps, our spirits are filled with wonder and gratitude. Everything is a miracle. And the only response to that is…

Oh wow.

6 thoughts on “WOW”

  1. Nin's quote reminds me that I just finished Michio Kaku's book Hyperspace. I left him a FB message that in part thanked him for expanding my own ability to see God in creation- even though the nicest thing HE posited about God is that since He can't be proved a "good" scientist will ignore Him. But almost everything he explained made more sense in the light of a Creator. All in the perception.

  2. Indeed, CW. We think we perceive things objectively, but there is always that unconscious filter of our beliefs and stories. When we try to recognize the filter and remove it as much as possible, we begin to see things as they are.

    Hyperspace?? Sounds intriguing. I'm going to go look it up. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Entering a most involved journey right now. I am being pulled in two directions, first, financial and then creative for my future. I find all three of these words most helpful. I need to 'watch' and be most aware, be 'open' to the undercurrents of my creativity and finally 'wait' out the moment to when I will be able to think clearly once more. All those busy financial details can be overwhelming, but are extremely necessary and they definitely can stifle creativity.

    Instead of pushing through and trying to create while in a frustrating mode, I am floating here. Noting ideas, and gathering them up for when I will be able to move forward freely once more.

  4. A perfect example of applying these words–thanks, Barbara! And how exciting for you. I sometimes find that waiting is the hardest one, but you are showing us how to do it. I love the image of floating. Thanks for commenting. (And glad the comment function is finally working for you!)

  5. "Watch . . . Open . . . Wait . . ."
    Three steps to being present in the moment that you have described beautifully here, Galen. I'm so reminded of meditative prayer.

  6. Your comment reminds me of an interview with a monk who was asked when he meditated. He replied, "I am never not meditating." Like praying without ceasing, every moment we can live in meditative prayer. Thanks for commenting.

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