Our breath infuses us with life. Oxygen is crucial to our survival. We can’t live without it.
How many of you have seen the movie Spaceballs? Growing up, I never saw the Starwars movies, but I did watch Spaceballs several times.
Do you remember the scene where one guy (don’t ask me his name—it’s been years after all—but I think he was the short, bald one), opened a can of PerriAir he’d kept secretly stashed away in his desk drawer, for a quick indulgent whiff of enlivening oxygen?
In that setting, oxygen was a luxury for those who were fortunate enough to afford it. For those in power. … Could you imagine then?
Here we are now in 2020, and, if you look back on the year, you’ll find that lack of oxygen—a battle for the breath—has been a theme.
We started out with a virus that threatened to suffocate us to death—and, sadly, has done so to the countless people who have tragically lost their lives.
Next, we were asked to wear masks at near all times. We became afraid to breathe in public, lest we should die, or—worse yet—cause death to our loved ones, if we dared breathe where it wasn’t safe to do so; if we dared intermingle our own breath—our life force energy—with that of others.
So we pulled back. We pulled into ourselves. We held our breath close to our hearts. We did so for our own safety—and for the safety of others.
We care, after all. We care deeply.
Where we had never previously thought twice about the bearing of our breathing when we left our homes, it had suddenly become a risk of life and death.
There’s the physical aspect of the many ways our inhalation has been limited—and then there’s the emotional impact... which, in turn, exacerbates the physical.
The fear that settled deeply into people’s lives took a measurable toll on the quality of our breathing. Fear constricts and leads us to breathe shallowly—only in the chest, or, worse yet, from the neck up.
🌀 Have you noticed how you’re breathing in these times? Do you pause to connect to your breath? Is your breath long and expansive, or is it quick and shallow? 🌀
Next up, we witnessed the murder of George Floyd and were left to integrate the last words that he spoke: “I can’t breathe.”
Our hearts ached as we tried to assimilate what we’d seen in repetitive video clips, and many of us probably held our own breaths at the tragedy of what we saw unfold on screen.
After that came the riots and the looting. Innocent lives were taken, businesses destroyed, lives not only interrupted, but devastated.
Again, we held our breaths, wondering if and when it might strike close to home.
For some of us, it did.
And then the fires started burning. 🔥 Fires like we’d never seen before. Fires that raged angrily and mercilessly and took homes and lives and hopes.
Many of us, who were blessed not to be in the flames’ immediate path of destruction, nonetheless have been affected by the aftermath—emotionally, as our hearts broke, over and again, for those who lost so much; and, physically, as we’ve been blanketed in ash, unsafe to open our windows or spend any length of time outdoors—once again, holding our breath for fear of the damage the inhaled smoke particles might cause to our life-giving lungs.
🌀 Do you see the theme yet? 🌀
It’s been a battle for our breath. A battle for our lives. A battle for our sovereignty.
We can let ourselves be victims to the situation we feel powerless to—or… we can claim our power and our sovereignty in the subtle, yet significant ways that we are able.
Here’s what you can do:
🌀 INTENTIONALLY BREATHE DEEPLY 🌀
Several times a day, pause and take at least 3 breaths into your abdomen, expanding your lungs, your ribcage, and your belly, before exhaling all the way and deliberately taking your next breath.
It helps to open your arms wide and sit or stand up straight as you do this, so as to open your body to a fuller breath.
When you feel yourself suffocated by poor air quality and demoralizing news, take a time out, close your eyes, and visualize yourself in your favorite place in nature—be it in the mountains, on the coastline, near a lake, a rushing river, or a babbling creek...
Picture yourself there. Close your eyes. Let a gentle smile originate from your lips and reach your eyes. Then breathe deeply—and count your blessings. 🙏🏼✨💝
There are things we can’t control—but there are things we can. Deepening your breath, even amidst extenuating circumstances, is one of them.
🌀Lengthen your breath, and feel a wave of CALM wash through your body.🌀
May you be blessed. May you be safe. May you be well. May you be at ease. 🙏🏼
With so much love,
Angie K. 💗