37 years ago today. I took my first breath.
Began with a first breath.
This is a moment I imagine to possess every emotion possible in a lifetime of emotions and every particle of every emotion is carried on the winds of that first breath. Joy. Fear. Love. Laughter. Determination. Success. Loss. Happiness. And lets face it, sheer terror.
As we are released like an exasperated exhale from our mother’s womb, we feel the air for the first time. Whether in that first startled moment of birth, or after some encouraging, each sleepy babe wakes from their long slumber with a sharp, full inhale. Imagine what it must feel like to first fill your lungs with earth’s cool air. Joining this moment is our sudden and unexpected surrender to our journey in this world. And just as quickly as we are greeted by the vital source of air, we forget all about it, though we will spend our life dependent on it, to fill us, sustain us, circulating in our blood stream, nurturing our minds.
This constant companion does not just keep he alive. It heightens our every experiences. It brushes up against us in the breeze, inspires us with scent, relieves us between sobs, falls from us in laughter, in songs and in words. We can even taste things in the air. We lose our breath in moments of awe. And shock. And fear. We catch it when our physical body gets ahead of us. We hold our breath to swim, to wish, to wait. Sometimes it will feel as if the air around us is the only thing holding us up.
Over time, we learn the skill of deep breaths, slow breaths. I particularly love the practice of holding a single finger before your lips, “smell the flower, blow out the candle.”
Sometimes I imagine… what if the air was colored by our the moods and emotions we express, by the words we speak, and the tone we set… Just… Imagine. In that world we would likely use the air a little more wisely; we’d be a little more aware and a whole lot softer.
Once a year on our birthday hold our breath for a moment and we ponder and visualize a wish before we blow a swift and meaningful breath against a growing count of candles, celebrating the anniversary of that first inhale and every single one in between,