When I don’t know what to say or write, I’ll take a deep breath to let my mind quiet and make space for a calmer and more subtle “voice”. If things get stressful or I feel my anxiety rising, I’ve found letting loose a sigh, growl, or silly noise makes a world of difference. During moments when something is tearing me up inside, releasing it into the world with words or a sound brings greater wellbeing. We all have an intimate friend with us from birth to death and every moment in between, and whether we name it breath, spirit, or Spirit as in God (many languages sagely use the same word for all), consciously connecting to it brings all manner of blessings.
I don’t want to belabor the relationship between God, as you understand the Divine, and our breath, nor pressure you to connect the two. With that said, let me simply observe how many of the same qualities often associated with connecting with Spirit, also come from consciously inhaling and exhaling; such as greater calmness, centeredness, clarity, confidence, aliveness, connectedness, and wellbeing. What is more, it’s often said God knows us better than we know ourselves, while breath touches us quite intimately by flowing through and enlivening us on our insides! Isn’t that interesting?
My best friends, family, and I tell each other “I Love you” all the time. I mention this because one of my all-time favorite breathing practices is to breath in, receive, and feel an “I Love you” from both Creator and creation, and breath out a jubilant “I Love you too”. If Love is at least the giving and receiving of aliveness, which I believe it is, then each inhale isliterally Love from plants, kelp, and plankton to us in the form of oxygen, and vice versa in the shape of carbon dioxide when we exhale! Giving and receiving Love is the flow of life, so by consciously breathing, accepting, and sending “I Love you”, we enter into a state of flow, and experience the greater aliveness and harmony that accompanies it.
While it’s great to live in this space of ease and grace, life is full of bumps and lumps. So, in times of trouble (mild, medium, or major) we go to friends and receive the gifts of care, comfort, and good cheer. Breath does the same! (NOT that friends aren’t important too)
Isn’t there something powerful about simply sharing your stresses, struggles, hurts, and fears with someone dear to you? Just giving voice to what’s going on inside us lightens the load. Whether it’s with words, sounds, or just intention, we can get much the same healing by exhaling the ARGHs and SOBs of life! Whether you believe in a higher power or not, it’s freeing to tell your breath friend ALL your secrets, frustrations, hopes, hurts, and dreams.
Whether it’s been a bad or good day, I think hugs are amazing. There’s something soothing and grounding about a good hug. The blessing of connection and comfort we receive from friends is also readily available via breath and awareness. Feeling my feet sink into the ground and the air around me on my skin, while inhaling smoothly, slowly, and deeply, as if I’m breathing through my skin and being hugged spiritually from head to toe, is nothing short of WOW when it comes to feeling comforted and connected.
Good cheer is another integral part of the rhythm of friendship, in that our people often brighten our spirits. Perhaps the best spirit brightening practice I’ve encountered is gratitude, and it’s usable anywhere and everywhere. When my brain starts spinning about what’s going wrong, I love to relax my eyes and breath in gratitude. After a few rounds of rhythmically breathing with an inner mantra of, “gratitude”, images of things I’m thankful for will begin to flood my mind, and my spiral will flip from downward to upward!
Every breath is a gift and I’m truly grateful for each one! Love, care, connection, comfort, and good cheer are not only treasures of friendship, but of conscious breathing too. One could truly say every breath is a prayer in and of itself! Whether we’re anxious, worried, joyful, uncertain, grateful, fearful, feeling celebratory, or ______, our breath, our most intimate and longstanding friend, is always ready to be called on and experienced like we’re being held by the person nearest and dearest to us.
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