A Deep Breath 

A few times in recent weeks I’ve had the sensation that I couldn’t get a full inhalation, the kind of deep breath that is restorative.  This was an unusual feeling for me and so it caught my attention.  While this symptom could have had a medical basis (and it’s always worthwhile to check that out), I wasn’t sick.  So, as someone who believes in the mind-body-soul connection, I decided to tune into what my body was trying to communicate. 

While I was listening, a wise friend pointed out that society as a collective has been dealing with the theme of breath in profound ways over the past year… 

Covid, an illness that makes it hard to breathe and a crisis that requires us to wear masks... 

Systemic racism, brought into deeper focus with the murder of George Floyd as he cried out for air…. 

Domestic terrorism, another disgrace that had many holding their breath as we prayed for a peaceful transfer of power… 

And these are just the macro headlines.  Many micro moments have further knocked the wind out of folks in recent times.  Dysfunctional situations of all kinds are exasperated.  Thus, my friend’s insight really resonated with me.  No wonder one might find it hard to take in a good, deep breath these days. 

Ironically one thing that helps us regulate our breathing is connection, and connection has become quite the challenge in our global pandemic reality.  Yet we are a creative species and sometimes the most resourceful approach is the simplest, such as… 

Connect to your heart by a simple gesture of placing your hand over it while you take in one mindful breath at a time… 

Connect to your body with something that enlivens the senses like music that moves you, pleasant aromatherapy, delicious food, or a relaxing bath… 

Connect to the planet by taking a stroll outside, staying present to the elements around you… 

Connect to those with whom you live by being generous with hugs and snuggles… 

Connect to those you miss by sinking into a voice to voice call or a hand-written note… 

…and so forth. 

Uncomplicated actions such as these can make quite a difference in regulating our body’s flow of inhalation and exhalation.  What might you do to catch your breath these days? 

May you be inspired!

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