Living in A.W.E. (Part 1)

"Most of the time I am in AWE of life within and around me."
- April Joy Manger

Most of the time I am in AWE of life within and around me — hence the title of this article “Living in A.W.E. (AIR, WATER, EARTH).” I have developed a greater love and appreciation for the air that we breathe, the water we drink, bathe and wash in, and of course our magnificent planet, Earth, a beautiful living and breathing soul.

The purpose of this three-part article series is to point out how living mindfully in A.W.E., we can transform our lives. Using my own experiences, I will attempt to describe what A.W.E. means to me.

When we are born into this world, the first thing we need is AIR. At our first breath and cry, we are awakened to the world. When we die, we take our last breath. Most of us probably take the air we breathe for granted until something profound or tragic happens. Perhaps it’s a respiratory condition, smoke inhalation, or an illness or injury that makes it difficult to breathe.

When I was seven years old, my family and I lived in Coronado, California. Occasionally the neighborhood children organized a baseball game at a friend’s house. One day I got too close to the boy up at bat and when he swung at the ball, the bat struck me across my chest. The wind was knocked out of me and I struggled to breathe. It was painful and felt like forever before I was able to get my breath back.

swimmingI started swimming competitively at this age too. Swimming back and forth in the pool, and breathing (or gasping for air) gave me an appreciation of the air we breathe. There were times when not only air but water entered my mouth which resulted in gulping down a lot of water.

As my relationship with water and air grew, I became fearless of the Pacific Ocean. We lived only a block from the beach in Coronado. Everyone in my family including our dog loved living there and spending time at the beach. I loved body surfing and riding waves on a raft. One day I was riding a large wave and somehow stroked my arms so hard that I got to the top of the wave. Then suddenly I was propelled ahead of the wave. I became air borne and flipped over landing on my back.

After landing on my back, the wave came crashing down on me, driving me to the sandy bottom. The power of the salty water was strong. It held me under and dragged me along the rough sand but for some reason I didn’t panic. As I was tossed around, I held my breath for as long as I could, wondering though if I was going to survive. When I was finally able to come up to the surface I gasped for AIR. I was grateful to be alive. After that incident I realized that breathing was something I’d never take for granted.

In my high school and college years, I took CPR classes as part of my lifeguard and water safety instructor training. Because of my grandchildren, I took a CPR certification course for infants and children. Learning CPR reinforced my respect for the air we need to live.

When we open our hearts to the abundance of pure air that is available to us, we deepen our relationship with God, the Universe and Mother Earth, and live in AWE. For me living in AWE is being grateful and mindful for the abundance of blessed air that is available every moment of our lives. To show our appreciation, we can:

  • Stop smoking
  • Drive less – be smart about running errands and strategize where you need to shop and take the best routes
  • Take public transportation
  • Car pool
  • Walk or bike more, if you live in an area where you can
  • Get a car with less emissions or no emissions
  • Grow indoor plants
  • Grow a vegetable garden
  • Plant flowers and seeds
  • Take trips to the beach and/or National Parks for fresh air
  • Keep your air ducts clear and clean in your homes

The second article in this series is about Water.

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