The gift of a

Breath

I learned a profound Jewish teaching from a Franciscan priest! 聽馃檪
Father Richard Rohr learned it from a Jewish Rabbi and speaks about it often. 聽It gives me great comfort in my life.

In Judaism the true name of God is not spoken. All the names we use are nicknames. The true name of God consists of 4 Hebrew letters (讬讛讜讛) (yud, hey, vov, hey). When these 4 letters are put together there are no consonants.

Many believe that we don’t speak the true name of God because it is taboo or because of the commandment, ‘thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain’. 聽This is only partially true.

The real reason we do not speak God’s name is because it can not be spoken. The closest word is the sound you make when you inhale and exhale.

Just take a minute to think about this.

God’s true name is the sound of your breath.

Inhale. 聽Exhale.
Do it again.

You are breathing the name of your maker.

We are alive when we are able to breathe.

Gen 2:7 聽讜讬讬爪专 讬讛讜讛 讗诇讛讬诐 讗转志讛讗讚诐 注驻专 诪谉志讛讗讚诪讛 讜讬驻讞 讘讗驻讬讜 谞砖诪转 讞讬讬诐 讜讬讛讬 讛讗讚诐 诇谞驻砖 讞讬讛變

“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul” 聽http://biblehub.com/lexicon/genesis/2-7.htm

Breath is life. 聽Breath is The Spark of God within us. 聽It is also His name and our own personal prayer.

It is our first word uttered when we are born. It is the last thing we say when we die. We pray it all day everyday. 聽 It is unique to each person and free to ALL.聽 It is our built in ‘fail safe’. 聽All the times we doubt ourselves and our worthiness, we are breathing our own affirmation. 聽God has it covered.聽 It is not required that we believe in it. 聽It will happen for us regardless.

When ever I am having a hard time. 聽When I am tired and overwhelmed. 聽All those times I am not sure I am doing ‘whatever’ right.

All I really have to do is remember to breathe. 聽It contains all that I need. It is prayer enough, it is life enough, and it is powerful enough to carry us through. 聽Trust your breath. When you feel especially lost or heartbroken. Just focus on your breath.

Father Rohr offers a beautiful meditation from Psalm 46:10 to lead you back to your breath:

“Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know
Be still”
May your Breath be with you :))
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made with love

Cocoon of Trees

Chicago 2014.聽 I sat listening to crickets in the trees one night before our move South.聽 So much unknown terrain stretched out in front of me. 聽 I remember thinking that only in nature can the deep quiet be so loud.聽 That is when it happened.

God said to me, “It will be the same.”

What I thought?聽 What will be the same? It is such a surprise to be spoken to this way.聽 Not the way we speak to each other, but a knowing, a memory of the conversation.聽 As if you catch it just after the words are spoken.聽 It took me a minute to gather my wits.聽 What just happened?聽 And then I knew.聽 I was about to pick up my family and move to another planet.聽 God was tucking me into the roller coaster ride with a message to hang onto.

“It will be the same.”

The same trees, the same sounds, the same sky, the same.聽 God will follow me there.聽 With his majestic creation.聽 I will be starting over, a stranger, but I will be wrapped in a cocoon of crickets.聽 The same crickets.聽 They will sing me this very same song.聽 The one they have been singing forever.聽 Since the beginning.聽 A cocoon of trees.聽 The same trees.聽 Green and tall and solid, with roots that connect them in communal unity.聽 A cocoon of sun and sky. 聽聽 The same sun filling me up with the essence of myself.聽 A cocoon of earth and dirt.聽 The same dirt reminding me of where I come from.聽 All familiar and the same.聽 This will be my blanket of comfort in the unease of change.

South Carolina, 19 months later, I stand on my back deck.聽 It is night and I am listening to the crickets in the trees.聽 They are the same.聽 A cocoon of trees tucking me in.

I go to say “good night and thank you.”

I look up at these guardians towering over me.聽 At that moment it happened again.

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God said, “It is here to take care of YOU, not the other way around.”

I said, “who?”聽 “what?”聽 There I was again trying to catch the conversation as if that is possible.

God said, “all of it, but especially the trees.”

I stopped chasing and let it sink in.聽 “Wow, that changes everything.聽 What fools we are NOT taking care of them, so they can take care of us.”

I got no response.聽 Just the wind blowing and the crickets chirping.聽 The same as always.

No wonder I feel grief when I see a forest felled in a single day.

Long ago, when God made the world for us, trees had legs.聽 They could walk and run just like us.聽 This is not in the Torah.聽 It was inspired by my daughter, Hannah, one day as we hiked through the forest.聽 Trees traveled from place to place.聽 Usually, they were making sure we were taken care of.聽 It was their job.聽聽 For thousands and thousands of years this worked.聽 We loved the trees and they loved us more.聽聽 Then about 10,000 years ago, we stopped living in small family clans and started figuring out how to farm the land.聽 We changed.聽 We started trying to conquer instead of collaborate.聽 Everyone wanted to be the boss and nobody wanted to compromise.

We began killing for meanness.聽 We fought just to fight.聽 The trees were extremely worried for us.聽 The Grand daddy trees called a council meeting of all the elders.聽 They came from all over the world for a once in a million year event.聽 They wanted to help us.聽 Trees know only peaceful protest and standing for what you believe in.聽 Period.聽 No exceptions.聽 They decided that they could only lead by example, and it had to be drastic.聽 That is when it happened.聽 They stood.聽 Still.聽 Forever.聽 The only travel now is a seed carried by wind, or bird or other avenue of nature.

They are waiting for us.聽 They stand still in their love for us.聽 They refuse to move until we change our selfish ways.聽 Of course, we didn’t get it.聽 Still don’t.聽 Will we ever?聽 We cut them down and they let us!聽 They just stand silent.聽 When they fall sometimes a groan slips out, but usually their thunderous fall is all that marks the tragedy.聽聽 Then the ones still standing聽 just continue their watch over us.聽 A loving example.聽 Waiting.

I am in a quiet place of my life.聽 It is hard lonely work to pull up your roots and replant them.聽 Is this how the butterfly feels?聽 Tucked into her cocoon. 聽 Wrapped up tight.聽 Is she quiet and lonely?聽聽 Or does she know that it is loving protection for the work of change? 聽 The only way transformation can take place.聽 Does she know that it is temporary?聽 Something to cherish for the restorative sleep that it is?聽 How I want to appreciate this silent stillness.聽 How I want to become the tree I already am.

I am tucked in my cocoon of trees.聽 They rock me to sleep and sing me to wake.聽 If you listen in just the right way, they will tell you things.聽 Ancient things.聽 They look down with love and look away with respect.聽 They hold me safe.聽 Protecting this time of transformation.聽 They never lose hope.聽 They are always the same.聽 I am the one who needs to change.

 

 

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February 2016

The Day the Angels Disappeared

They would sing to me.聽 A song with no words, and deeply familiar.聽 There were so many. Choirs of them. 聽 I would sing with them, and other times I would just sit in awe.聽聽 Words fail to describe the power of them.聽 The closest I can come is JOY, and that is like describing a technicolor聽 3-D IMAX movie as an old black and white film.聽 Beautiful, glowing with light, enormous, ethereal?聽 These words seem insulting when describing them.聽 How old was I?聽 I was young enough that I didn’t have words to describe it to anyone, or even think to try.聽 I assumed it just was.聽 Didn’t everyone visit with Angels?

When I would go to sleep they would come to me.聽 Or I would go to them, I am not sure.聽 The memory is strong yet fuzzy.聽 Similar to how I see without my glasses.聽 I can capture most of it and imagine missing pieces, but it always seems to be at a distance.

As a small child, napping was a wonderful place to go.聽 Sleep something to welcome.聽 Maybe it was all a dream.聽 If that is so, then I only had one dream.聽 The same each time I fell to sleep.聽 There was no other.

And then one day.

I have two vivid memories.聽 They happened around the same time, but since memory is fluid, I can’t say for sure.

The first is standing frozen in front of the TV.聽 My parents had been so excited that a popular children’s movie was airing.聽 ‘The Wizard of Oz’.聽 They put it on and probably thought it would give them some much needed adult time to catch up.聽 They left me to watch by myself.聽 The witch and the monkeys haunted me for years.聽 The purposeful meanness, so hard for me to digest.聽 I couldn’t leave the room and I couldn’t bear to watch.聽 I was sweating and shaking.聽 I did not know that feeling before.聽 Unfortunately, I have known it many times since.聽 Fear.

The second memory happened chronologically after the first.聽 Yet, it could have happened the other way around.

I remember going to take a nap.聽 As soon as my mother left the room a bee landed on my covers and began to slowly crawl towards me.聽 It was the biggest bee I have still to lay eyes on.聽 I could not move, or run away or even call for help.聽 I just lay there sweating and watching.聽 This horrible, terrifying, hairy monster walking up my covers to where I lay, helpless and horrified.

I don’t know how it ended exactly.聽 The bee did not harm me.聽 I just know what happened next.

My mother had to go back to work.聽 My sister and I were put on a bus in the morning to go to a day care center.聽聽 I remember the sick feeling in my stomach.聽 My younger sister just one and a half years old.聽 She was screaming and clinging to my mother’s neck.聽 They peeled her little arms away and strapped her in the van.聽 I watched my mother get back in the car and drive away.聽 My sister kept crying.聽 They told her to stop in a commanding聽 voice.聽 She couldn’t.聽 Her little chest heaving and hiccuping.聽 The woman driving the bus reached back with a ruler and spanked her legs, telling her more sternly to stop.聽 She cried harder.聽 She spanked her again.聽 It continued back and forth like this until the end of the ride.聽 Then they took us to separate rooms. 聽 I did not see her again until later, as they put us on cots to nap.聽 I lay there missing our bright kitchen where my mother and sister and I would sit eating lunch.聽 I missed riding my tricycle up and down the sidewalk. I missed getting up from my naps to tip toe into the kitchen where my mother would leave fresh bread cooling.聽 I missed my mother.聽 I heard my sister crying.聽 I got up to comfort her.聽 I needed to get comfort as much as to give comfort.聽 They caught me before I got to her.聽 They spanked me and put me back on my cot.聽 My sister and I had never been spanked before.聽 No adult had ever struck us.聽 They told me to stay there and not get up.聽聽 I swallowed my sobs as quietly as I could.聽 I already learned what happened if they heard you cry.聽 I did not get up again.

The Angels never came back.聽聽 I have only seen them again in memory and imagination.

My mother did not stay home anymore.聽 Day care became our foster care.

The loss was gargantuan.聽 My whole body would ache at the missing of them.聽 What did I do wrong?聽 Why did they leave me?聽 Please come back!聽 Some how I knew it was over.聽 Going to sleep became something else.聽 I did not welcome naps.聽 I would run and hide to keep from going to bed at night.聽 These early memories have been a powerful force shaping my path and direction as an adult and mother.

It took a long time to put all the pieces together.聽 To understand what happened.聽 It was simple really.聽 I came to know forces we must battle here on earth, whether we like it or not; fear, doubt, hatred.聽 It takes innocent faith to see Angels.聽 You must trust completely.聽 Children are born in this pure state, and then life happens. 聽 We spend the rest of our time searching for the way back.

This is not a story I have ever shared with anyone.聽聽 No one goes around talking about their experience with Angels.聽 How do you explain your grief at losing something that people don’t believe exist?聽聽 I am not sure if I was even able to share my grief of what happened to my sister and I at the hands of irresponsible cruel caregivers.聽 If my parents are upset by this I would tell them this was no failure on their part.聽 In fact, I would argue quite the opposite.聽 They did something so right.聽 They were able to protect me from fear and doubt until I had long term memory to store my Angels.

As powerful as those traumatic memories have been in my life, the memories of Angels have been more so.聽 I have cherished this memory of my Angels all of my life.聽 Evidence of a power so great and filled with light that words cannot define it.聽 I wonder if we all are born wrapped in this gift of love.聽 Meeting with Angels while we sleep.聽 Easing the transition to a physical world filled with fear and gravity.

In a rather low point in my life, I took a workshop called “The Illuminated Heart”.聽 One of the exercises within the meditations was to call your Guardian Angel to be with you on the journey.聽 Focusing on it this way, I felt the presence of something so big and familiar that it brought tears. 聽 I recognized the Angel as being with me all my life, just out of focus and on the periphery.聽 This realization was a game changer.聽 I know I may never see Angels again as I did with the clear eyesight of innocent faith.聽 But I know they are with me always.

I had a conversation with my son, Zeke, this week before he fell asleep.聽 He had been listening to a story about witches and was having trouble sleeping.聽 As I searched for how to help him, I shared my story.聽 It is the first time I think I have shared it with anyone and it prompted me to write about it.聽 He listened and had many questions about the Angels.聽 I struggled for words to explain.聽 He immediately fell asleep.聽 He slept through the night and awoke to tell me how he had asked his animal friends to help him defeat the witches and bad guys in his dreams.聽 Maybe he connected with his Guardian Angels.聽 He walked taller the rest of the day.

In Judaism there is a bedtime prayer that calls 4 Angels to guard you.聽 It is ancient and meant for protection during the dark night.聽 I do not know the entire prayer in Hebrew.聽 Even though it is a prayer that is intended for you to say for yourself, I call the Angels to come guard my children before they go to sleep.聽 Then I recite, the Shema. I have done this every night for more years than I can remember.

I call upon you Hashem, put the Angel, Michael on the right, Gabriel on the left, Uriel in the front and Raphael in the back, and above my head the Sh’khinah (Divine Presence) (3x ) Shema Yisrael Adonai eloheinu Adonai ehad) (Deuteronomy 6:4)

It is the last thing they hear before they fall asleep.聽 As I go to sleep, I call the Angels for my children that are now away from home and then myself.聽 This may not be religiously correct, but it is my way.

I want my children to hear me call the Angels by name, every single night.聽 In this world, there is a constant battle raging between light and dark.聽 Between faith and fear.聽 While we cannot insulate ourselves or our children from the forces of dark, I firmly believe that light and faith are the stronger force.聽 Just the memory of Angels can be powerful enough to beat back the dark.聽 Just the possibility of light can give us the hope and courage we need to face down fear.聽 May your Angels always be close, guiding you and giving you light for the way.

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A reflection

Mother’s Day 2015

I took a look back at my words from Mother’s Day last year. 聽 I love writing because it paints a picture, not just of what I did, but how I felt.聽 Reflection is a process I find a necessity of my life.聽 (When there is time)

Reflecting on my post (re posted below) I realized, that WAS the gift of last year… More time

Invasive cancer caught, in time, through a miraculous sequence of events outside my control.

What a gift of Grace!!聽 A double gift.

More time…AND

The knowledge that I was given more time.

I don’t know exactly how much, no one can know that.聽 But I know it was more.

WOW聽 I did nothing to deserve more time.聽 I know there are many others without more time.

I am not sure I lived this, more time, fully enough.聽 I have had good days and bad days, but mostly I have had MORE days!聽 So many more, that I took some for granted.聽聽 Some, not all.

Not the day I gave birth to myself.聽 The part of me that had given life 4 times, now giving life to me.

https://notthemaid.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/this-womb/

That was kind of a big deal.聽 I was the mother recovering from a difficult birth and baby beginning all at once.聽 One year old now, I am starting to stand on my two feet and walk a bit.聽 Shaky still.

Not the days my Mom came to take care of me.聽 Healing not only physical wounds but emotional ones.聽 Not the week Richard spent with me in the hospital.聽聽 I treasure those days.聽 There is more:

The day I got to sit, so proud, and hear my son give one of the commencement speeches at graduation.聽 The days last summer I played frisbee with Noah.聽 A whole field to ourselves of green grass and clover.聽 Running barefoot, at risk of being stung, by offended bees accidentally stepped on.聽 Too tired to play, too much fun to quit.聽 The day I watched him walk away to board a flight to Israel for a year.聽 Instead of tears, just sweat pouring down his shirt.聽 Tall, strong and young.聽 Goodness wrapped around him like a warm yellow light.聽 Knowing I would be here to miss him.聽 Knowing I would be here to see him home.

My wedding anniversary, celebrated by Richard, myself and the United Van moving team cleaning out our house.聽 Homeless and moving to a new land.聽 Unforgettable and perfect, as it highlighted the teamwork we have hard earned through our 20 year journey together. 聽 A very surprising and unpredictable path trying to love each other, and raise good happy kids without losing ourselves and each other along the way.聽 The day I bought this dress.

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In spite of all the good reasons I shouldn’t.聽 Because I could.聽 Because I was still here, standing in this store liking how it looked on me.聽 Even with an endless number of more days, you only get a handful of those!聽 The day I wore it and my husband kissed me like that.

The day we were all sick, homeless, the temperature dropped to 10 degrees and all I could do was cry.聽聽 The days I was so mad at my kids I started screaming at them!聽 Until I said something stupid and we all started laughing.聽 The days I have had to say “I’m sorry” for being grumpy, grouchy, snappy and impatient.聽 The days I belly laughed so hard at my family telling stories and acting out skits around the dinner table.聽 The day I cried to the ‘uber’ driver all the way to the airport, because we were moving and leaving our dear friends.聽 (No one else will give my kids THAT experience).

The weeks of days I spent with Zeke at his new school.聽聽 Witnessing and waiting and supporting his struggle to stand on his own two feet in a foreign land.聽聽 Me, the only one who could see him through in just that way.聽 The day he hugged me and walked away.聽 No tears.

Hannah’s first day at her new school.聽 The joyful surprise when she got to the classroom and said, “Mom I got this, you can go”.

The day I saw Micah walk through Security on her own to fly to Chicago.聽 Watching her not watching me.聽 The day I took her to the airport to fly to Israel on her own and she wanted me to stay with her through Security.聽 Me, being able to offer ‘security’ just a bit longer.聽 Knowing she was going to see her brother.聽 Knowing they were excited to see each other.聽 Knowing they didn’t have the burden of missing me yet.聽 Knowing, even when my time is up, they have each other, and I am still here to nurture that.聽 Reminding myself why it was OK I didn’t get to see Noah this time.聽 I have more time.

Time.聽 More of it.聽 Lots more of it.

This Mother’s Day, one year later, I am here.聽 I am healthy.聽 My whole family is healthy.聽 Richard, Hannah, Zeke and I played at the beach.聽聽 I watched them squeal and ride the waves.聽 I took a long walk barefoot in the sand and savored every sweet step.聽 Steps I could not take last Mother’s Day.聽聽 I gave myself permission to let go of any need for fast or far to be a part of my progress and recovery.聽聽 I enjoyed simply… progress.聽 We splurged and stayed a night, in spite of all the good reasons why we shouldn’t. 聽 Because we could.聽 Because we are still here.聽聽聽 Because we know we were given more time and we are thankful

Time.聽 More of it.聽 I was given more days.聽聽 I was generously and lovingly given the knowledge of receiving more days.聽 Then I was given the hope of looking forward to even more days.聽 A rare and precious gift.

I fully let go of my expectations that ‘Mother’s Day’ look like a greeting card.聽 I did not need anything from my family to make the day special.聽聽 I got to be a mom for another year.聽 A year of more days.聽聽 I take the good days and the bad days with a grateful heart.聽 Because at the end of the day.聽 I have been given MORE.聽

Happy Mother’s Day

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A spiritual journey

A Walk In The Woods

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Money has been a little tight at the Shaffer house for the past year or so.聽 I am restarting a career and Richard is changing direction within his industry.聽 We have been putting 4 kids through Solomon Schechter Jewish Day School and then Ida Crown Jewish Academy for many many years.聽 So things are tight.聽 I get accused of making understatements, but let’s just leave it at that.

I am starting to wonder if there aren’t some real blessings in this for all of us.聽 As a free activity this week I took my kids to the forest preserve by our house.聽 It is actually a place I love to spend time running.聽 I call it the path to Eli’s house.聽 Eli is a name I have for God that comes from my favorite children’s book by Max Lucado.聽 It is where I feel Eli the most.聽 But I haven’t been taking the kids there so much.聽 And if money weren’t so tight, we probably wouldn’t have been there this week!

I packed a picnic, herded my 3 younger ones to the car and off we went.聽 It was one of my favorite experiences this summer so far.聽 We found a perfect spot to practice balancing, bear crawling and jumping on and off a log.聽 We climbed trees.聽 They were wild, loud and joyful.聽 I didn’t have to say ‘no, don’t’ even once.聽 After a few face plants in the dirt from all the jumping, we recovered and proceeded to spend another hour exploring the trails.

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There were squeals and shouting every time we came across a bug, spider, dragonfly, or any other little creature.聽 They picked up rocks and threw them into the river.聽 We passed lots of dogs with their owners, and horses with their riders.聽 Their little bodies jumped, skipped, raced, ran and moved in every way they knew how.聽 It was like they had been set free from some type of bondage we don’t even know we are in until we are out.聽 When they began to get tired, they took off their shoes and walked, ran and carried each other the rest of the way back.聽 There was not a single whine the entire time.聽 It seemed to meet each child’s needs regardless of age difference.聽 There was no gift shop at the end to cause conflict.聽 We got in the car to go home worn out and peaceful.

Not having money to spend whenever I want is teaching me a lot.聽 I have been learning what my parents went through at this same time in their lives.聽 I had no idea.聽 I thought they just didn’t want to have heat in our bedrooms growing up!聽 That we didn’t eat out because they loved their own cooking. 聽 I thought my mom made all our clothes because she just liked to sew.聽 I never thought we were poor.聽 I actually thought we had more than most.聽 I am learning that having or not having money is not a character judgement.聽 The two things are not related.聽 And I am being reassured that it is temporary.聽 Money ebbs and flows in our lives.聽 What we do with that information is character development.

So maybe we are walking this path in our lives right now for good reason.聽 Maybe we are learning how to “be” and be thankful for what we have.聽 Maybe it is us parents that need to learn this more than our kids.聽 Maybe we just have to keep our kids from unlearning it.聽 Hopefully we can hang onto this lesson of what we don’t need…to always accumulate more stuff, when money is easier.聽 Maybe this is the real path to Eli’s house.聽 We are definitely becoming more humbled in our shoes.聽 Our worn out one pair of shoes.

Maybe my kids will look back and think that their mom just liked taking them to the woods instead of the mall.聽 They will be right.

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coping, running

Some Thoughts on Breathing

As a part of our New Year’s celebration we all came up with 3 words to focus on this year.聽 Mine were:聽 faith, connect, and BREATHE

I know every one breathes.聽 But as I have been focusing on these words, I find there is a depth to breathing that I didn’t realize.

I am coming to believe that our emotional journey; is linked to our spiritual journey; is linked to our physical journey.聽 Many people don’t link them together.聽 For instance, most therapists really focus on the emotional journey. 聽 I know people who go to therapy for everything. 聽 Most religious leaders focus on the spiritual journey.聽 We all know people who use religion for everything.聽 Fitness Centers, work out programs and personal trainers primarily focus on the physical journey.聽 Certainly there is benefit in developing one at a time.聽 Sometimes we need to really target one specific area of ourselves.

It is not so easy to truly integrate all three areas.聽 I think many people are like me, and they target all the areas simultaneously, without being able to weave them together.聽 At one time, I thought the emotional journey was the most important.聽 I got a masters in Marriage and Family Therapy when I was 22.聽 I just knew that if I could figure out how to have the best marriage and family, then I would have the secret to the universe.聽 That was all I needed to get there.聽 WRONG!

I聽 have always been conscious of my physical journey.聽 I always attempted to stay healthy and fit.聽 I thought it was about having a low heart rate, living longer and looking good in your jeans…..WRONG!

I definitely got tricked into thinking that religion was all I needed to find my way on the spiritual journey. You want more spirituality?聽 Just plug in more religion!……..WRONG!

I was very conscientious.聽 I worked all the right formulas and did all the right equations!聽 I still ended up as a 40 year old, flabby, burned out, broken down mom of 4 with a marriage on the rocks.聽 How could this happen?聽 I worked out!聽 I had converted (twice) to Judaism!聽 I moved my family to an orthodox community!聽 I had a masters in Marriage and Family Therapy for pete’s sake!聽 I did everything right!聽 …………WRONG AGAIN!!

I wasn’t really connecting the dots.聽 I hadn’t found a way to address body/mind/spirit together to get a fuller picture of what was holding me back.

We talk about breathing all the time.聽 It seems to be linked to one’s perspective and state of mind.

“breathe easy”

“take a breather”

“breathtaking”

“breathless”

Big deep breathing is positive and linked to someone who is healthy, relaxed and happy.聽 Someone who doesn’t know how to “breathe” is seen as anxious and high strung.聽 As I have begun to focus on this word, I realize how much I am NOT breathing.聽聽 Every time I feel overwhelmed and suffocated by my life, I find I am holding my breath, or just taking small shallow breaths.聽 I am physically suffocating as I am emotionally suffocating.聽 If I am thinking about God at those times, it is basically “Where the hell are you?”

Learning to run has led me to learning to breathe. 聽聽 As I have tackled the physical challenges, I have had to face the emotional challenges.聽 Things that had been buried so deep that I didn’t even know I was suffering from them.聽 They took on a 3-D characteristic that made them impossible to ignore.聽 (Not that I have ever been accused of denial).聽 I couldn’t grow physically until I was willing to grow emotionally.聽聽 As I faced the physical and emotional challenges, I had to then examine my spiritual framework to see where it was stunting my progress.聽 It sounds kind of complicated but really it just came down to hanging on to myself while I focused on breathing.

So, more and more I am looking at my life as a body/mind/spirit journey.聽 Each part is linked to the other.聽 Each area of growth has to include the others.聽聽 Running has become much more than just a work out.聽 I am physically increasing my lung capacity by running.聽 Yet, I am now aware of the carry over into the other areas.聽聽 I “breathe” a little easier with my husband and children.聽 I have more patience and perspective with them.聽 I feel claustrophobic and suffocated less.聽 This has significantly raised the “happiness factor” in my marriage and my family.聽 Sometimes, my life does feel like it is crashing down around me (usually Friday afternoon). 聽 I now try to “breathe” and not panic.聽 I have adopted the motto:聽 As long as I can still breathe, I can do it.

In Genesis, when God created Adam and Eve, he “breathed” life into them.聽 He put his breathe inside of them. 聽 When I am running, about the only thing I CAN focus on is breathing.聽 I get to a deep quiet place inside myself.聽 That is where I seem to find God waiting for me.聽 This is where I find myself waiting for me.聽 Hopefully I am finding the piece of God inside of me that IS me.聽 And this is probably what actually saves me.聽 This is what keeps me coming back for more.

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