Monday, December 15, 2014


What do lock-ins, sit-ins, and breathe-ins all have in common?

They are all events we attend {with purpose to remain for a time} and then leave, preferably with ourselves, our circumstances, or our world, changed.

My word for 2014 has been now-full.  Coming out of 2013, with tender emotional scars tentatively healed, I wanted to allow myself to be present in every moment and every feeling that might show up, whether it was pleasant or not.  I wanted my skin to know all that was in the air around me, and my heart to appreciate pain and joy in equal measure.  I wanted the moments to pass slowly enough that I recognized them for what they were, and to twirl around in each one so that I could learn and grow, apologize and laugh, love and hope, when each of those things was called for.  I was, of course, not always successful, but I loved having the word to guide me, remind me, and push me toward better intonation with my life.

We now teeter on the edge of the end of this beautiful year, and as this one closes, I have been increasing my awareness, my now-full-ness.  For the past six weeks or so I have been engaging in events I call breathe-ins.  These events can be at any time, in any place, and the invitation is always open, whether I choose to accept or not.  As the name suggests, breathing plays a part, but it is not the only player.

Here are four simple steps to attending your own breathe-in life events:

  1. Choose to engage.  How often do we show up in our day without really attending whatever moment we are in?  The first step in a breathe-in is simply the choice to pay attention with our full selves.  Draw your mind to the full beauty of the moment, and allow the Holy Spirit to inform your heart of the moment's importance.
  2. Ask your senses what they are experiencing.  Very often in my day, I physically tune out simply because I am overloaded with stimuli.  The noise, smells, sights, and even the irritations my body can't escape are sometimes too much.  The problem arises when I don't choose to check back in, and the hours pass with me on autopilot.  In a breathe-in, I assess and take inventory.  
  3. Breathe.  Tune in to the rise and fall of your inhale and exhale.  The rhythm is beautiful and soothing if we open ourselves to it.  Fill your lungs as if you're filling a glass, from the bottom up.  Allow for a brief moment of suspension between the inhalation and the exhalation, with openness in your throat and breath neither coming in nor going out.
  4. Practice gratitude.  Not the gratitude associated with lists and obligation, but a deeper thankfulness to the Lord for the goodness of His abiding within us.  A wordless connection.

Whether in the car, in front of a fire, at the sink, laughing with our children, or feeling the rising frustration of a challenging day, breathe-ins are a way to root ourselves in the moment, in the gift of the present, where God is always waiting for us.

Use the hashtag #breatheins on Instagram to connect over your own now-full moments....