One Breath

We made a lopsided circle, but with our eyes downcast we did not even notice. The building was quiet, except for one errant cricket that sang on, and the faint squeaking of the roof of the theater. Our teacher silently observed as the ten of us stood still, our eyes squeezed shut, and our arms gingerly placed on each other’s back. The only sound we made was the steady, even, inhaling and exhaling as we focused on breathing as just one group. One breath. Not ten, but one.

In acting class this morning, we were doing an  exercise created to help us bond, and focus as a group. In a cast, a director must find a way to take a group of assorted individuals, and make them one. That was the focus of the exercise, but as I stood there, focusing on breathing simultaneously with the others’, I felt my eyes moisten as all my stress inexplicably slid off my shoulders like a  heavy winter coat dropping to the floor.

We stood in that circle, all of us: a theatre major wearing a ModCloth dress, a skilled basketball player-six and a half feet tall-in his athletic wear, a music major wearing his club t-shirt, a wrestler with gelled  hair. An unlikely bunch to say the least. Yet we were bonded by that series of breaths we took together.

The first two weeks of school has had this girl tied in knots. As I stepped back on campus I felt the pounding in my head again, and the steady push in my heart to be bigger, better, and the best. My calendar has filled up faster than a small valley in the midst of an avalanche. My heart has folded over on itself making the very beating that keeps my body running, grow harder to hear.

But today I found myself in a room with my arms wrapped around others, and the only task I had at that moment was to breath in rhythm with them. 

And I finally heard that small whisper of wisdom within me. I remembered the importance of slowing down, and letting go of the fool’s gold that makes up competition, success, and never-ending striving.

I want to remind you, today, to take a breath. Close your eyes. Place your hand over your heart, and feel that deep, rich lifesource beating within you. Focus on your own breathing.

Beloved, if the only thing you get done  today is that you spent time with God, loved on someone else, and took a nap. Then you are a success. Do not let the world trick you into living in such a way that you trade your peace for a bit of success. Breathe, love, and most of all, let yourself rest.

[Tweet ” If today you talked to God, loved on someone, and took a nap. Then you are a success. “]

Today I linked up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday. A crazy group of bloggers get together every week, and feverishly write about one prompt word {“whisper” was this week’s} for only five minutes. Then, after those five minutes, we post what we wrote. We are a pretty neat community of gals, if I do say so myself. Join us over here!

21 thoughts on “One Breath”

  1. Excellent blog! I understand taking the time to practice relaxation techniques such as what you did, focusing on your breathing, not only helps your mental and spiritual well being, but can also help you physically, as well. I am trying to incorporate it into my daily routine…when I remember to do it, it definite helps on many levels, including my connection with God.

  2. There are small moments in life when, unexpected, without our knowledge or permission, we are caught off-guard and made to breathe. You have been my moment today Bethany, thank you.

  3. This was written so beautifully I can’t imagine not stopping to take that breath even reading. When wolves sense danger they stop and breath together to unite. Sometimes back to school can feel dangerous. Great reminder to slow down and BE!

    1. I love that anecdote about wolves, Candess. That is just so neat! If wolves are smart enough to take time to regroup, and breathe–than we should be too! Thanks for the fascinating contribution to the conversation!

  4. I, too, have struggled with stress, both at work and in my personal life. I must remember to breathe. Proper breathing, actually, is an excellent way to fight stress – and now I know it’s a good bonding technique, too.

    1. Good breathing can just help with so many different aspects of life, can’t it Alana? Stress will always be there, but I am trying to figure out ways to deal with it in a healthier manner. Thanks for contributing to the conversation!

  5. As I read this, Bethie, I started breathing slower and deeper and then I dropped off into immediate heavy sleep. No, not really. But I did feel myself relax and intentionally slow my anxious thoughts down and it felt SO GOOD. I know that we aren’t designed for 24/7 activity and stress. Thanks for the reminder. Now. A nap.

  6. Amen, Bethany. Beautiful post.

    Sometimes we just need to stop and breathe and just BE. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, no matter what our culture tries to jam down our throats.

    Excellent. 🙂

  7. You captured that moment in time so well. A group of very different people, breathing as one. This post hits home with me since for most of the summer I’ve had some form of anxiety or another. I’ve been doing a lot of focusing on my breathing. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. Thanks for this!

    1. I am so glad you got something from this post, Anne. I, too, have struggled with anxiety–and I am amazed by how just focused breathing can do so much for calming down the spirit. Peace to you!

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