Deep breathes

“Smile, breathe and go slowly.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

I can still hear my mother saying “Take a deep breath and tell me what’s wrong” to one of her children crying hysterically. What my mother knew then that I know now is that taking a deep breath calms the moment down allowing us to regain our composure. We move out of an emotional state to a more neutral position, a place where we can rationally communicate, and express our emotions without emotion.

When I ride my bicycle I focus on my breathing which in turn allows me to focus entirely on the moment. I climbed what we would describe in these parts as a “Big Ass Hill” Saturday. I didn’t have the advantage of momentum where you race down one hill to climb another. The road was flat and then, taa daa there it was, 100 yards of 6% grade. Hills like this shock my system. I am a big guy and gravity only plays nice with me going downhill.

My routine for conquering any hill is simple, easy gear, and let my breathing dictate my pace. Once your breathing becomes laboured, when you find that you are gasping for air, you are done. My goal is to run out of air at the top, not in the middle.

Most of us view breathing as a simple reflex, something that we do without thinking. If you have ever participated in a physical activity that makes your heart beat 170 times per minute you understand that breathing isn’t just a reflex, it feeds your soul. All of the sudden breathing becomes something that you are very conscious of. It is no longer simply a motion that you go through, you feel it, see it, taste it, absolutely need it.

You don’t need to run a sub six-minute mile to be conscious of your breathing. You can do it sitting at your desk, or walking through the store. Focusing on the wonders of breathing is very meditative. You turn everything going on around you into two simple acts, breathing in, breathing out. Your mind becomes quiet, a place we all need to spend some time in even for just a minute or two each day.

Take a deep breath and tell yourself what’s wrong, or what’s right or better still don’t tell yourself anything at all. Get lost in the moment, the chaos of the world will wait for you to return.


About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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9 Responses to Deep breathes

  1. mwdunham says:

    Again, I’m in awe of your ability to write about something so juxtaposed to my current state of being. I choose to write to you about it infrequently so as not to appear too weird. But just this morning I decided to perform my morning exercise routine without music/iPhone. This routine consists of running and or walking at Tanglewood Park. I always use the excuse of keeping my phone on me just in case there is an emergency with my kids and to use the music to motivate me. Too often I talk on the phone and miss the beauty around me. Not to mention, I’ve never had to deal with an emergency. Well, today I enjoyed the beauty of His creation, smiled and said hello to my fellow man, and spent time talking to the Friend of All. It was delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am always happy to hear your thoughts on what I write. That my words fit in a place in your life and in your heart at that moment is just a bonus for me. In my advance age I have learned to try a weed out as many things possible that take up space in my life. I love music, as my next post will attest to, but music requires space, any background noise does. What you were able to experience with your walk in Tanglewood Park was the space of trees, birds, squirrels and the smiling faces of those around you, all wonderful things to be “in” rather than just among. Thank you as always for sharing your thoughts and for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful read, especially your closing line. Love it

    Liked by 1 person

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