Chiseling out expansive tunnels, echoing caverns, and towering trees from the sandstone of New Mexico’s hills isn’t a hobby that most of us would pick up, but that doesn’t stop Ra Paulette! Since 1990, he has been digging out elaborate caves and abandoning them for others to enjoy. Meeting this caveman will surely have you diving into your own favorite activity once again!

Oh yeah, that’s right, Ra Paulette creates caves. With his own two hands (and well, a few very sharp tools), he’s been hacking away at New Mexico’s sandstone for decades. The elaborate caves he shapes go for hundreds of thousands of dollars in the market—people looking to live in art—but Ra doesn’t ever see any of that money. In fact, once he finishes his caves, most of the time he just leaves them there for someone to discover. 1

But that’s totally okay with him. He’s sculpted over a dozen caves just in the search of continuous wonder; the same wonder you’ll recognize whether you love spending hours at the sewing machine, working on your car, or running hundreds of miles. And, maybe, if those activities you love have taken a backseat recently, his story might help you carve out the time for them once again.

Meeting the Caveman!

Described as a “caveman with a following,” Ra Paulette has redefined what it means to carve out what we want in this world.

By literally taking chisels to sandstone, he’s been able to continually discover and create wonder in the breathtaking tunnels and caverns he’s created through the hills of northern New Mexico for over 25 years!

But these aren’t just your regular, run-of-the-mill caves, sitting in darkness with smooth walls and slanting floors. No, Ra’s caves have elaborate staircases, fountains, carvings of trees, and streams of light shining in. Some even have bathtubs!

You might be thinking this is the retirement dream of an architect, sculptor, or engineer, but Ra isn’t any of these things. On the contrary, he’s just someone who simply discovered what he loves, and turned it into a way of life!

Bringing us into these phenomenal caves to meet Ra is the always wonder-full CBS Sunday Morning! Take a look.

Explore more of this wonderful world with CBS Sunday Morning over on their YouTube channel!

Can you imagine stumbling into one of those?!

How magnificent! Imagine how people, hundreds of years from now, will be feeling when they find the caves Ra created through thousands of hours of joy.

If you’d like to find some of these caves for yourself, Atlas Obscura shows us the way in this article. (This publication is always an endless source of awe! They always dive deep into the most interesting and off-the-beaten-path wonders of our world. Like this Chicken Church, for example.)

To discover more about how Ra Paulette does what he does, check out the full documentary about him titled The Cave Digger by clicking here!

Following the Wonder

What would happen if more of us found ways to prioritize what brings us the most joy? If that feeling of awe, excitement, satisfaction, and ultimately, contentment, that comes with doing something that feels like play, were more prevalent in our lives—how would it impact what we do?

Just as fear and anger motivate us, experiencing awe can do the same. 3 But instead of eventually draining our energy as the first two emotions will, awe recharges us.

The sheer enjoyment of taking part in something we love prepares us to engage with what we are fearful of and angry about with more energy, more perspective, and even more humanity.

Awe is universal, so is wonder. These emotions go way beyond the languages we speak or the colors of our skin and can help us see the common ground that lies between us.

When we can each spark that wonder in ourselves, individually, how differently could we gather together around the changes we want to see?

If you need to take a minute to reconnect with what makes you come alive I suggest you check out the following article. With just three questions you’ll gain the insight to dive deeper into what makes you come alive:

17 minutes

Ask Yourself These Three Questions and They Can Change Your Life!

What if three questions could help us live happier lives filled with more joy and meaning? The answers to these questions have the power to change the way we interact with our loved ones, do our work, and live a more fulfilled existence together!

Read More

You can find this wonder anywhere!

Whether you’re discovering new patterns in quilting, turning Vespas into works of art, or building homes for seahorses, if that spark of wonder is with you, follow it. While fear and anger can also create a universal ripple, those who act from a place of awe, beauty, love, and fun have done the same. Very often with a longer, greater impact on communities.

Here are just a few of their stories:

23 minutes

The Choir That’s Leading the Way to a Better World

Have you had a "goose-bump moment" yet today? Here's your best chance! From South Africa to the stage of America's Got Talent, the Ndlovu Youth Choir is sharing their dynamic performances and uplifting stories with the world.

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6 minutes

Meet the 97-Year-Old Saving Thousands of Bluebirds!

Can one of us really make a difference? After hearing the story of Al Larson, there's no doubt!

Read More

10 minutes

The Joy of Sharing! New Wisdom On An Age-Old Cycle

Whether you're just starting out on your journey or you've become a master of your craft, you can be a part of a cycle that goes back millennia. What is this ancient cycle and how can it apply to our lives today? Let's head to the hills of Colorado and find out!

Read More

So, what is it that sparks those feelings in you?

Discover it, chase it, and make time for it. See what happens when you create space for yourself to do at least one thing that brings you joy, every day. And then, notice how you show up for the people around you afterward.

Stay open to new possibilities!

  • Sam

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”  — Albert Einstein

Open Up A World of Curiosity on Your Phone!

Adding the EWC App to your home screen will have you starting your day feeling uplifted about the world! Not to mention, it gives you a place to go to whenever you want to let your curiosity run free! Download now for Apple and Android!

YES, PLEASE!

Notes:

  1. “Ra Paulette’s Hand-Carved Caves.” Atlas Obscura, 18 May 2013, www.atlasobscura.com/places/ra-paulette-s-hand-carved-caves. Accessed 9 June 2020.
  2. CBS Sunday Morning. “Cave-Digging Artist Finds Inspiration Underground.” YouTube, 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxcftjJ39BU&feature=emb_title. Accessed 9 June 2020.
  3. Berger, Jonah, and Katherine L. Milkman. “What Makes Online Content Viral?” Journal of Marketing Research, vol. 49, no. 2, Apr. 2012, pp. 192–205, faculty.wharton.upenn.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Virality.pdf, 10.1509/jmr.10.0353.

Sam Burns

Editor in Chief

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and procurer of cheeses.