One of the first rules of caring for yourself and others is an extreme exhale. It allows for a glamorous and sensational inhale: expiration…inspiration. Let go of what is done. Be generous with your exhale (You are feeding the plants…).
I don’t breathe well. It’s unconscious. I shallow breathe or hold my breath—never really letting things go. I only take the minimum I need because I have been soafraid for solong that I might trigger a collapse of the underpinning dominoes of my world.
Oxygen is food. Ineffective breathing is like starving at your own banquet. Hoarding your exhale is blocking you from what you need. Some wellness experts believe it is the cause of most illness. The respiratory system can eliminate 70% of our metabolic waste. Our remaining human elimination systems are defecation at only 3%, urination at 8%, and perspiration 19%.1
Do you want to run a clean ship or to live in a dirty house? Exhale. Let go of what has expired and is no longer working. A structural sigh surrenders control (which we don’t have) and steps you into the moment (which we do).
Oxygen is energy. It’s free and our first and last taste of this world. Breathe in fully and we will have more than enough to live well, to love well, and to create—even when it’s not well. It’s circulation. I take it in, receiving more, and have more to give. It’s physics—not even metaphysics (but that too).
Now that my mother is dead and our eleven-year caretaking house-of-cards has collapsed, I am seeing things differently. I am breathing for me but also for the “us” of that bond, perhaps only until I figure out what is dead and what wants to live in this “good-daughter-in-mourning” that I have become. If you’re still breathing, this is your season, too. Breathe it in. Breath is your first music. Listen.
Generous people breathe deep but real divas let it go. Think Pavarotti.