Breath Of Life

In. Out. In. Out. Breathing. It’s automatic. We don’t even have to think about it. I had a dear friend check in on me to see how I was doing. She told me that she had been breathing for me, and I was thankful. Lately there have been times I seemed to have stopped breathing. Was I holding my breath or just refusing to breathe? Maybe I’ve just paused more often than usual. I generally pause to absorb something, to make it last. I hold my breath when I don’t want to feel. Then I inhale again and nothing has changed. Still I know breathing fortifies my lungs and caressing pain strengthens my soul, so I have faith all will be well.

I’ve been really tired and just can’t seem to catch up on anything, especially sleep. Again, I went to bed early last night and woke up about 2:00 am to the snoring of my dog. Her breath chugged, chortled, and shimmied like a freight train. I lay there and listened to her until she finally woke herself up. Beside me my husband slept peacefully…gently his breath filled and emptied his lungs to a beautiful cadence. I put my hand upon his chest and felt the rhythm as it rose and fell with each beat of his heart. In. Out. In. Out. Automatic. He was totally unaware of God blowing the wind throughout him. What a gift we are given and often take for granted.

I never thought much about breath until years ago when I learned to detect and halt oncoming panic attacks. I was taught to control these episodes with breathing techniques. It was a successful strategy for me. Eventually this knowledge blended into the past, forgotten until about a week or so ago. I awakened to heightened breathing and the old familiar sensation of impending doom. I settled into a comfortable spot and concentrated on my breath. In and out, slow, long, and methodical until the fear melted away and breathing once again became automatic.

I began to tend my breathing again. In the following days, I was instantly alerted if my breaths became rapid, shallow, or out of my ordinary pattern. I noticed that my breathing shifted during moments of anxiety or other intense emotions. Breathing, this effortless task had become labored for me. My spacious and inviting breath became tense and cramped. As I exhaled, the heaviness in my diaphragm tightened, moved above my ribcage, and caught, stifled in my throat. As I swallowed, the air quickly moved to stop at the base of my throat and spiraled to an emptiness in the base of my stomach. Each time I focused on the intake and outtake, I regained balance. I not only centered my breath but my attitude.

I recognize that I have allowed my emotions dominate me. In turn, my thought process compromised my breath. I am also aware that if I let go of ego and get back into the moment, my breathing will take care of itself. Just by concentrating on sensation, my breathing is less restricted and more calming.

Yet, breath is simply air. You and I partake of the same substance. I pass it to you, and you to me. This space between us sustains us.

The average person takes in 21,600 breaths a day. How many of them do any of us actually notice?

36 thoughts on “Breath Of Life

  1. I’m not surprised, Honey. It’s been a rough couple of months for you. I too have issues with “panic attacks” and breathing just becomes almost impossible. (I also have swallowing issues which isn’t that bad because it keeps me from eating!) Still, it’ll pass. I hope you are feeling a lot better very soon.

  2. When we walk through troubled times, the breath we take for granted may fail us, but God never fails us. I benefit from reading your meaningful posts. Thank you for sharing parts of your life experience. Blessings to you, Suzi…

  3. It totally amazes me how many times you post something that I’m thinking about, Suzi!


    Just the other night, I was noticing my shallow breath intake and stopped what I was doing to take a minute or two to reconnect to my breath.

    Having been trained as an actor, I know the importance of breath. There were many nights before a performance I was filled with so much anxiety and nervousness, that I literally stopped breathing. Once I took the time to take a few deep breaths, it instantly relaxed me. So yes, emotions and breath are very connected. Breath is very powerful.

    Yoga has helped me a lot with noticing my breathing.

    Thank you for sharing this, my friend! Great reminder!


    • I am always so amazed by people who are intuned to breathing…usually people who meditate. I ahve a difficult time with that connection. I’m working on it though.

  4. This post resonated with me. I’ve thought about breath often especially since my father passed. In the end, he couldn’t get enough oxygen to breathe. He would ask us to turn up the oxygen machine in efforts to breathe easier. That day never came.
    Thinking of you Suzi.

    • Cindy, I am not having panic attacks now. I had them years ago. I woke up recently feeling like I was about to have one…fortunately it passed. But I am taking it easy and let the emotions work through.

  5. I must say I took some deep breaths reading this post and I DO feel better. It is cleansing -maybe that is why it helps in panic situations – cleansing and rhythmic.

    Have you tried yoga? I just ordered a children’s DVD to do with the girls. Life can be intense….I want to power them with the tools of peace and centering.

    Thinking of you and sending you healing thoughts to help ease your anxiety and sleeplessness.

    My dog snores just like that and I can’t sleep unless she is snoring. 🙂

  6. Awesome post.

    I DO pay attention to my breathing. Not as often as I should, but when I get tense, I stop and try to quiet the tension by slowing down my breath and heart.

    I like to play with breathing; breathing through the nose, through the mouth, “back breathing”, allowing the air to fill specific sections of the lungs/chest, all kinds of stuff.

    I love that you learned breathing techniques to control anxiety. Cool and amazing!

    This is fascinating too: “I am also aware that if I let go of ego and get back into the moment, my breathing will take care of itself.” I’ll be thinking about this bit of information.

    Hugs to you my sweet blogging sister. (I just decided you, Peg, and Angelia are my blogging family.)

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