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AIR: Sometimes you have to bring your own air

Updated: May 8, 2022

reDEFINE AIR...Air is the invisible mixture of gases that surrounds the Earth. Air contains important substances, such as oxygen and nitrogen, that most species need to survive.

This is a picture I took while on a recent trip to Machu Picchu, one of the wonders of the world. It was beautiful; the mountains and surrounding landscape were breathtaking. We stayed for a few days in Cusco, a city in the Peruvian Andes. The elevation was over 11,000 feet and in my preparation for the trip, I learned that it is common for people traveling to experience negative effects of the altitude. I knew that the altitude was high, very different from the US and anticipated some possible challenges. However, it’s one thing to read about something and a whole “nother” thing to experience it, particularly if you can barely breathe. I gasped, sputtered, leaned against every wall for support and consequently cut down my list of “must do’s” because I COULD NOT BREATHE.

As I sat in my hotel room on a portable oxygen machine (yes, the hotel had oxygen that could be sent to your room). I thought of the water spider... I'm not sure if you know but the water spider breathes air but lives underwater. It comes to the surface, gathers air and transports the air to its silk web and then returns to the water and lives in that self-created bubble. Who would choose to live willingly in an unlivable environment? Sometimes, we do either by choice or necessity. I think we can learn something from this spider and with a little finessing redefine what we believe “air” to be and adopt some effective coping skills. This is relevant as we navigate life’s challenges especially when you find yourself gasping for hope, love, encouragement, and motivation or anything good. These things are air, what we need to grow and thrive. As I used an oxygen machine to help me take my next breath, I realized that in life we must learn how to, like the water spider, gather bits of air to survive when the oxygen in our immediate environment is missing. When we are faced with non-believers, trampled by those who mean us harm, engage in situations that remind of the trauma we’ve experienced, anything and everything that sucks out hope. The trip to Peru made me think of this because I gasped and struggled to breathe physically, but also sometimes struggle to breathe in seemingly unbreathable life situations…the answer... bring your own air.


The "Air" I am referencing is the things we need to help us emotionally, mentally, spiritually to live. However, our goal is not to just survive but to thrive. So, the activity this week is to be observant about those things that help you to have hope, work towards your goals, maintain good physical/emotional health, helps you to grow spiritually, basically anything that moves you in the direction of your purpose. You will be tempted to also look for the bad and may become distracted with keeping a tally of the things and people that suck the air out of your life. STOP! This is about fortifying yourself so that regardless of what you face you have the coping mechanisms to withstand and then overcome…our goal is to breathe.

Below is a simple chart, feel free to upgrade it. This chart has seven (7) days. Indicate on each day at least 3 things that helped you stay focused, feel good, stimulate creativity, learn something new, etc. This is the start list of your personal “Air Chart”. If you can’t come up with three (3) things, then start over the next week and keep doing it until you have at least three.


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