UU Sarah Dan Jones wrote one of our most popular new hymns, “Meditation on Breathing.” I have personally used it not only in worship services, but in my personal and family life. “When I breathe in, I breathe in peace. When I breathe out, I breathe out love.” When my children were little, we would use it as a way of getting through anxious times, visits to the doctor, etc. It’s now part of my “prayer bead” practice, as I meditate.
The part we know, with the above words, is part of a larger song that Sarah Dan wrote after 9-11. (You can hear the entire song at www.sarahdanjones.com/music-1.html.)
I’m trying to be more mindful about my breathing. I know that with the fullness of the holidays, I have been panting sometimes, taking shallow breaths as I rush from one thing to another. But there are also the spontaneous deep intakes of air as I view the night sky of the solstice, or a house covered in Christmas lights. In awe and wonder, I fill my lungs with the experience of it all.
Isn’t it funny, that we sometimes forget? I’ll always remember my mother and mother-in-law, present at the birth of my first child – their first grandchild – clutching each other and reminding each other to breathe. And when we are in the first throes of grief, hearing bad news, hopefully there is someone who can lean in and say, “Breathe. Breathe.”
As you go through your holidays, with your unique experiences, may you take the time to mindfully breathe in peace, and breathe out love.