Faith, Family, & Focaccia

A faith and culture Mommy blog, because real life gets all mixed together like that.


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The Balance of Breathing

rock balancing

Photo by Pille Kirsi on Pexels.com

The Spirit is whispering behind my ear –

Divine respiration-inspiration, Ruach, Pneuma

calling me to draw her in,

draw close,

draw breath,

to share the air She spills out from her generous soul,

to train my lungs to dance the rhythm of Creation.

Persistent inhale-exhale of all life.

 

I need to practice, to re-learn, the litany of breathing:

in and out in sacred balance,

call and response,

receive and give,

embrace-release,

let Her inside and speak her name aloud.

 

The rhythm is so simple,

the common language of all animal and vegetable life.

Whatever else our differences, we all share this:

this in and out;

this every minute interchange of CO2 and Oxygen;

inevitable partnership;

most basic pattern in the dance of life.

 

But, my step stutters.

I’ve lost the cyclic rhythm,

forgotten that with every hungry gasp

must follow gift;

that each exhale must leave me empty,

needing to refill.

 

Sometimes my breath gets stuck in inhalation.

My lungs don’t have capacity for infinite expansion.

I cannot hold it all,

and, if I try, I will explode,

betrayed by my blind greed for more.

More knowledge,

or experience,

or lies that whisper my deep worth is measured by inflation,

the ability to hold it all.

And so I keep inhaling ‘til I start to shake

with fear, exhaustion, grief for my own limits.

 

But, also, I can err in breathing out,

can give until I’m empty and still push for more;

can, somehow, mistake my lungs for a sweet well

replenished from within,

despite my long experience of going dry.

Or else, misdiagnose each need that eyes or heart perceive,

prescribing, as though medicine, whatever I exhale,

forgetting that I have metabolized what I took in,

and my breath carries poison intermixed with life,

which needs to be diluted by a greener source of air.

So, I must learn, again, the rocking, rhythmic step,

the dance that nurtures life in every form:

the in and out in sacred balance,

call and response,

receive and give,

embrace-release,

let Her inside and speak her name aloud.

 

The partner-dance of Spirit-breathing life.


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Yogi’s prayer

I have not been breathing enough lately. I don’t mean the processing of oxygen necessary for survival – obviously I’ve been getting that done. But life as a whole has felt mostly like “getting it done” and I haven’t been pausing for the deep, centering breath I need. I’ve been too busy just trying to check items off the to-do list at a pace to match all the items being added on.

Today I finally took a breath – I spent 75 minutes breathing in fact. That is the bliss of Tuesday afternoon community yoga class. It has been three weeks, and oh how I have missed it. In that precious time there is no ringing phone, or whining child voices, or urgent e-mails popping up on my computer screen. No one is presenting me with needs that I must meet. Instead, I am told to breath…just breath…through all the movement and poses…to first and always breath.

As I breathed for those golden moments away from life, I realized in a new way what a miracle it is for every moment of our lives to exist within the pendulum swing of breathing. Whatever imbalance we find in the haste or waste there is always this ultimate ebb and flow, in and out.

Yoga class is over now and its power is not so profound that it can magically alter the balance of my life. But I don’t want to forget the balance that flows through my lungs moment by moment. And I don’t want to fail to offer gratitude for this breath.

And so, my Yogi’s Prayer

Thank you for this breath that rocks my day
Inside the cradle of sustaining life

And how this sweet inhale, my body fills,
My soul as well, though mostly unaware.

How exhale gives release to toxic air,
And thoughts may follow if I’ll wield that knife.

Now, in this moment may I hold that peace,
And live inside a thankfulness for air.