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Awesome, dude!

CHASING DOWN THE MUSE

‘He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to

wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead ... " I think that

when Albert Einstein made this statement, he cannot have been

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thinking of the word in its full meaning of reverence, respect, dread

and wonder.

When we say something is “awesome,” dread is not what comes to

mind. But when we consider antonyms for “awe” -- disrespect,

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disregard, apathy, or indifference -- Einstein’s point is well taken.

Awe, in the fullness of its meaning is to be alive, wonderfully

alive. It is to feel, to see, to hear, to think, to touch and be

touched, whether out of fear or wonder.

I am reminded of a story I heard recently in which a young child

in a crowded airport waiting area found everything to be “awesome.”

The small dog in a carrier -- awesome! The electric wheelchair --

awesome! A plane taking off -- awesome! Clearly embarrassed, the man

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accompanying the child apologized to those around him: “I’m sorry my

granddaughter is going on like this,” he said. “She still thinks

everything is wonderful.”

I hope so! Awesome!

What are some of the awesome things experienced in your life?

Right this minute, some of the things by which I am awed: the 11

runs in the first two innings of the second game of World Series play

this week; the congressional vote giving President Bush war powers

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against Iraq; the continued sniper attacks in the east; the immensity

of the ocean and its constant ebb and flow; the rise and fall of the

stock market and its influence and impact; the miracle of the human

body and mind as our longevity is ever-increased; technological

advances so vast most of us cannot even imagine them; the myriad

variety of birds along our seashore; the Grand Canyon and the mighty

Colorado River that runs through it; humankind’s ability to hate and

its counter -- the ability to love in a selfless manner; the beauty

of a grove of giant Sequoias; the miracle of birth; the speed at

which time passes ... I could go on and on.

Life is good. Sometimes it’s not so good. Sometimes it is even

downright miserable. I stand in awe of it all, for, like Einstein, I

can imagine it no other way.

How can we hold on to that strange place where the adult in the

child and the child in the adult meet? How can we attain and maintain

that place of wonder wherein we are aware of the fearfulness in the

thing itself, yet we choose our way, choose how to act in a given set

of circumstances?

Let me propose the following: What do you see? Look with the eyes

of a child for just a moment. Now what do you see? Share your

experience with someone right away. If you’re alone, call someone.

Sharing wonder can be contagious. While you are at it, you might ask

this person about their experiences -- what things large or small do

they find to be awesome?

Long-range -- set a goal, maybe to see five awesome things in each

day. Set yourself up. Go new places. Stretch your boundaries. Try new

things. And always look at the old things anew. If you had just

arrived from outer space or just awakened, as did Rip Van Winkle,

what might fill you with reverence, respect, dread and wonder? (I

suddenly have a vision of how it might look to Rip or the spaceman to

see two folks high-fiving as they say in unison, “Awesome, Dude!”)

Start a list of these evocations of wonder and keep adding to it. Go

for one hundred items.

How do you think you are awesome? If someone tells you that your

work is awesome, ask her why. Ask this question any time you hear

someone refer to anything as awesome (it’s that contagious thing

again). Why not? What have you got to lose? Just as Einstein

observed, to not know wonder and awe is as good (or bad) as to be

dead. On the other hand, those who pause “to wonder and stand rapt in

awe” will be truly alive. They will see things that others may miss.

With this attention, life can be exquisite and very awesome.

* CHERRIL DOTY is a creative living coach, writer, artist, and

walker who lives and works in Laguna Beach. Contact her by e-mail at

emmagine8@aol.com or by phone at (949) 251-3883. Your thoughts and

questions are appreciated.


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