An I N H A L E R
an E X H A L E R
I am an inhaler. I often desire what is not meant for me. I did not always know this about myself. It’s the journey of a lifetime to really and truly know yourself fully isn’t it? I had plenty of negative words bouncing around in my head to describe being an INHALER.
These are ugly, horrid words that no one in their right mind would readily admit to. But here I am on the 4th day of a new year saying not only did I identify with them but they were often quite accurate. How can I be so certain and so honest about the dark, false side of my nature? Because by the grace of GOD, I have come to be grounded in the TRUE nature of my being more and more often.
Once I recognized who I was NOT, I found an enormous amount of peace. Once I tasted this PEACE as within my power to remain, it became my intent to protect and enjoy it above all else.
John 14:27 in the NLV states ‘I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
When you are an I N H A L E R, you are very troubled and afraid. You are literally gasping for life like it’s your last breath when you are in fight or flight mode and are panic-stricken by the idea of just LETTING GO. If you are anything like me, you may be a control freak. For most of us without a regular practice to reduce stress, we are in this mode much of the time. The body is telling us we are not safe. This may manifest in physical symptoms like anxiety, IBS, auto-immune disorders, depression, eating disorders among many others.
Gratefully, I have been practicing yoga and meditation daily for over two years now and can identify with the steadfast, eternal nature of LOVE alive in my heart. I have gone on a journey inward toward the peace the wold cannot give. There are many names for this: Christ consciousness, Buddha nature, Highest Self, Inner Light, presence. Once we know who we really are (and not just in our mind), but experienced as an embodied wisdom, we can look non-judgmentally at who we are not. We can genuinely repent for who we are NOT. This means we find ourselves humbled with the full knowledge of our need for salvation by Grace and not our works.
In John 9, Jesus tells us he came to give the blind sight. I can only see my own darkness through the forgiving lens of light in Jesus’ eyes. When I, feeling alone and disconnected, attempt to view my sinful nature, I only end up depressed and irritable. Real repentance is about CHANGE and TRANSFORMATION.
In her Advent message, Nadia Bolz-Weber said, ‘I cannot remain unchanged and expect to have an impact on this broken world.’ Enter the Eastern wisdom traditions instructing us to practice mindfulness.
Alan Watts’ book The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety, argues ‘The root of our human frustration and daily anxiety is our tendency to live for the future or remain stuck in the past. What keeps us from happiness is our inability to fully inhabit the present moment.’
The practice of paying attention to the breath transforms me, it continues to liberate me from my suffering. It helps me to finally and fully: EXHALE.
Try it out right now. Full belly inhale to the top of the collarbones to a count of 5. Empty out until the belly contracts for 5. Inhale in all four directions of the torso, not just front and back but side to side. Release the breath pulling the belly to the spine.
I suspect the EXHALERS out there have their issues too; maybe with accepting love, help, fullness of joy and aliveness. You might give till it hurts, leaving yourself spent and depleted. Try focusing on expanding with new, fresh breath. We can experience rebirth with our very next breath, becoming a new creation!
In the 4th century, St. Gregory of Nyssa wrote, “What was achieved in the body of Mary will happen in the soul of everyone who receives the Word.” The Word became living breathing flesh! In John 22 we hear, ‘He breathed on them and gave them the Holy Spirit.’ Let us find balance as we inhale LIFE/Spirit/Incarnation and exhale tension, desire, attachment and expectation. The first step to allowing more LIGHT and LOVE in is to surrender and make plenty of room.
Breathing lessons (app) by Carla Ardito recommended