Friday, January 5, 2018
Breathe on Me, Breath of God
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
The breath of life . . .
How many of us pay attention to our breathing? It is something that transpires within us automatically. It is a function of living. We don't need to think about it.
Or do we?
On Thanksgiving morning of last year, I awake at my mother's home with searing pain in the right side of my neck and shoulder. Agony is too kind a word to describe the sensation. It is all I can do to maneuver the 11 pound turkey into the roasting pan and place it in the oven in preparation for the rest of the family arriving at noon. My granddaughter, Virginia Rose, witnessing the frequent grimaces on my face, is so worried about me. I reassure her that I'll be fine, but I'm popping Tylenol more liberally than I care to admit.
And I question in prayer, "Lord, where did this come from? Why the sudden onslaught of excruciating discomfort? Is this my thorn in the side? Why now, when Mom needs my help so badly? Please, it it's Your will, let this pain depart."
It abates. Slightly. But it seems, as I drive home after the Thanksgiving holiday, it is determined to persist.
As this condition continues, my husband, Danny, who has been faithfully visiting a chiropractor, Dr. Cris, for treatment of his right shoulder, which seemed to practically lock up in reaction to his many recent surgeries in that area of his body, advises me to try the same. "Martha, it can't hurt to try. I have so much more movement in my shoulder since I began this treatment. I'm sure Dr. Cris can help. Trust me."
And I am not disappointed.
By the second visit, Dr. Cris has figured out the source of my distress. She explains: "Martha, this is not so much an issue of spinal alignment as it is your body trying to readjust to being normal and in sync with its former rhythms. With all Danny and you endured this past year, you have been in 'fight or flight' mode for months. Now that things have calmed down, your muscles simply don't know what to do as they try to relax and adjust. This is where the treatments will help, but you need to do something else that will accelerate healing."
"What's that?" I ask, desperate to know.
"It's as simple as breathing," says Dr. Cris. "We naturally breathe using our diaphragms until we reach the age of ten, or so. Somehow, at this time, we forget how we are meant to breathe, and begin to send all our efforts to the lungs. It's time to reeducate yourself, train yourself to breathe correctly. I promise, this will not only calm you on the inside, but will heal you in the long run."
Dr. Cris then gives me a simple exercise to begin monitoring my breathing and become more aware of the process. Am I skeptical? Yes. But I'm willing, in my current condition, to try anything.
And guess what?
Yes, I am still practicing, thinking, being conscious of my breathing, but lo and behold, my pain has lessened substantially, and I now catch myself diaphragm-breathing even when I'm not purposely attempting it!
So is it any wonder that my word for 2018, the one which chose me, is Breathe? And as I work through the year to master this peaceful and fulfilling method of breathing, I will also cherish the knowledge that God first breathed life into me that I might fulfill His purposes for me on earth.
So stop right where you are, my friends.
Take several deep breaths from the bottom of your "tummy."
And tell me how you feel.
May the breath of God breathe blessings upon you all in the New Year and beyond!
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