Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Breathe {inspiration for Wednesdays}

I was asked the other day about my {breathe} posts and why I named them that.  As I muddled my way through the answer, the conversation worked its magic in helping me see clearly the "why" at the heart of these posts.  It was as though I needed to hear myself say it aloud before all the parts found their way to their proper place.  The following is a written explanation of why....

To breathe is to connect what is unseen with what is seen, the invisible with the vessels we live in.  We take in an unseen but vital source of life and our very physical, very present, very tangible lungs receive it, use it, crave it.  It is a symbol of the Divine and the flesh, Spirit meeting homo sapien as they dance and integrate into one another.  Ruach, a Hebrew word, means wind/spirit/breath and can also mean life.  In the creation story in the Bible, it is said that God breathed the breath of life into man's nostrils and from that a lump of clay came living flesh and blood.  To stop and focus on a breath reminds us of where we come from.  It connects us to God.

To breathe not only gives us a sense of transcendency but also brings us back into our physical bodies; it reminds us that while all our plans for the future are noble, we live now - in this moment in history with this breath we are breathing.  To breathe lets us know the state of our being.  Rapid, strained breath communicates something different from a peaceful rise and fall of the chest.  To breathe is to inhale and exhale - a receiving and giving - and creates a rhythm to live by.  Breathing anchors us to "today" and can free us from the demons of the past and the tyranny of the future.  Breathing connects us to ourselves.

To breathe also roots and grounds us to our humanity.  It is a great commonality across the human race.  If we are to live, we all must breathe.  To breathe takes no fancy equipment, knows no socioeconomic barriers or geographical boundries.  We do it most of the time with no thought and little effort.  But think about any moment, there are 6.94 billion people doing the exact same thing you are!  Breathing connects us to each other.

And when we give our attention to this oh-so-human habit called breathing, it can be a great reminder of the above three things.  At the moment of attention to our breath, it links us to God, to ourselves and to solidarity with every human who lives.  What a powerful little tool we carry around with us!  Let's use it.

As we breathe in, may we take in joy and love from a God who is beyond us.  May we find a peace in each breath knowing we are fully loved.

As we breathe in, may we settle down into ourselves and the situation we find ourselves in.  May we find energy in each breath to do what must be done.

As we breathe in, may we sense a connectedness to every person we see because at this very simple level we are all the same.  May we find compassion in each breath to treat each person with dignity and respect.

Breathe, smile and go slowly.

1 comment:

Erin McFarland said...

Hey sweet friend. I adore this. Just linked the blog post I just put up back here because you said it perfect. I so enjoy your Breathe posts (along with your photography!) and am always inspired by your thoughtful, honest writing. If you ever write a book, I'll be the first one lined up to buy it :) xoxo