Take a breath in. And a breath out. And again, but slower.
There is life to breath. I can feel a change in myself as I take the time to breathe. I can feel the air inflate my lungs, and then feel all of that escape.
There is something familiar about this in healing, this rhythm of getting something and then breathing it out. We take something in, and then give that thing away. In a way, we breathe in, and then breathe that same thing back out into the world.
I work helping people experience hope and love in the middle of mental disorders. I live my life breathing out. I breathe out my own experience, how God met me in the hard times and the healing, and how hope seemed elusive until it was not. I breathe out the belief that people can experience healing. I breathe out practical skills to stay stable. I breathe out hope that God does not abandon us in all of this.
But sometimes, I forget to breathe in.
Try breathing out, and keep breathing out. At some point, no matter the size of your lungs, even if you have a history playing a woodwind instrument or swimming, the air runs out. At that point your lungs feel compressed, yearning for something to inflate them again.
The same is true of hope. I have had the opportunity to breathe in hope time and time again. I have had my own life changed and had the opportunity to see others changed as well. I have learned to listen to my own value and worth, and learned to accept that I am worthy of love, and that I am.
But sometimes, I just forget to breathe in.
I get caught in the breathing out. I get caught sharing all of the things that I have experienced without taking the time to heal myself and learn myself. In those times, what is left in me? I have no breath? I have the story of what God has one in my life, but when I forget to breathe, sometimes I even forget that.
Breathing in represents the exercise of growing and learning. It represents the long hours I have spent trying to hear and know my own value, only to hear that I am more than I thought. It represents the time I have spent working to decompress my own soul and figure out what is going on, only to learn that it is constantly more complicated and more healing than I would have expected. It represents time being personally healed. It represents peace in my soul.
When I breathe, sometimes say to myself, “breathe in peace, and breathe out mission.” This means that my mission is to breathe the peace that I experience back into the world.
If I am breathing in, I begin to heal and experience hope and healing in new and fresh ways. When I am breathing out, I am sharing all of that with the world. When I forget either, though, it does not bode well.
So, I type while taking in air, breathe.