A New Beginning
When life gets hard and the path ahead seems steep and uncertain, let go of your worry and doubt. Take a deep breath -- and begin.
Even though the doctor suggested I should wait for him to call me, I opened my health portal and looked for the test results. My eyes scanned the page looking past all the medical jargon for one word.
Everything blurred behind salty tears as the word came into view. Before I could stop it, the voice inside my head slid into that crusty-old-woman rant I’d always sworn I’d never entertain.
Well – what did you expect? You’re gonna have health issues at 60-years old!
You can’t live forever, you know!
At least you’ll die before your turkey neck gets worse!
My mind-chatter was a roller coaster of ups and downs for about a month until the cancer was surgically removed. It was such a weird process. They had to medically paralyze my diaphragm – the same diaphragm that had been autonomically breathing me since I was wacked on the backside as a newborn. Strangely, after so many years, a machine was doing the breathing. The whole process wrecked me. I cried for weeks afterward, mostly because my body felt violated – like some sci-fi alien had been digging around inside my chest and removing parts I couldn’t imagine living without.
And yet, it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Why? Because every breath became a gift. During my recovery, a nurse came in to help me increase my lung capacity.
“Breathe deep. I know it hurts a little. Imagine how it feels when a baby takes its first breath!”
Imagine. A first breath. MY first breath. In my new life. MY FIRST BREATH.
“Breathe. Deep. Full. Until you can feel the bottom of your lungs push your ribs outward.”
I’ve relived that ‘first breath’ for months now, every time my attention is drawn to my lungs. It happens when I run up a flight of stairs or when I traverse a hilly mountainside where I live. It happens when the spring lilacs greet me with their fragrance or when I notice the musk-and sandalwood scent of my husband’s beard oil. It’s incredible to feel cool air filling me with clarity and strength, and to hear the smooth exhale that slips audibly from my lips, feeding nature with its essence.
On average, a human breathes 22,000 times a day. That makes it easy to use a breath or two for spiritual practice. Inhale and expand the senses, envisioning the infinite possibilities that come to mind. Exhale -- connecting the breath to the heart and emanating love. Every breath creates a new beginning. One can become wondrously fascinated by the pure joy brought about by the simple act of breathing.
So, when life gets hard and the path ahead seems steep and uncertain, let go of worry and doubt. Take a deep breath -- and begin.
You have 22,000 opportunities today.