I mean, obviously I breathe enough; I'm walking and talking, doin' my thang in the blogopolis, so I must be getting enough O2 in my system.
But it's not the real thing, y'know? What most Americans (and probably folks in a whole lot of the world) pass off as breathing is actually this shallow, ragged push me-pull you between oxygen and carbon dioxide - it's just about enough respiration to keep us conscious and alive, but not a helluva lot more. It's like duct taping the hell out of that broken mailbox post so it'll stay upright a bit longer- it ain't the right way to do it, but it gets the job done, know what I mean?
And the real kicker is that it should be so easy! It's breathing, for crying out loud! But when work, and bills, and work, and taxes, and work and the dog and work and broken appliances and work and health issues and work and work and work...(whew...head rush)...yeah, when the pressures of life get to rest too heavily on one's chest and one's mind, this simple thing to do ain't no longer simple, and we suffer from a lack...of inspiration.
Isn't that great? The art of the inhale is called inspiration. Daddy loves unexpected words like that - for instance, the french word for "Warning" is "Advertissement" (which makes perfect sense if you've ever listened to the litany of nasty side effects in one of those Cymbalta commercials). The french word for "gasoline"? "Essence". Isn't that awesome? "Will you be home in time for dinner?" "Sure - just gotta stop for some Essence and then I'll be there." Filling your tank sounds downright sexy when the french say it (although at $4.00 a gallon, it still feels like you're getting mugged at the pump, no matter what you call it).
So, I've been suffering from insufficient inspiration. The flip side of Inspiration (breathing in) is Expiration (breathing out), hence the title of today's post. I'm not sure where I first heard the term, but I wrote it down immediately because it just tickled the hell out of me. I didn't take it to have anything to do with breathing, although that is how it had been introduced. To me it seemed like speculating that there could be an expiration date, a finite period of time - a limit to one's inspiration, or perhaps to the usefulness of such (use it or lose it, as it were).
We've all seen that happen, so there must be something to that - my great ideas, your great ideas - they don't die if we don't act on them - only our time to act on them expires, and they go on to someone else. Years later, we see our ideas being sold on TV, or Bill Gates is unveiling them, or someone else opens that coffee shop, and we sulk quietly, jealous of all the attention our ideas are getting, up there with those other people who actually used them. Song about The Twilight Zone? My idea. "Yadda, yadda, yadda"? Swear to God, it was mine before it was Seinfeld's. I tell ya, you've gotta copyright that shit the second it pops into your head, 'cuz you never know how long you're gonna have it.
Inspiration - it begins. Expiration - it is over. We live and die in a single breath, to be born again with the next, and the next, and the next. Every breath an opportunity to be inspired anew - to go down another path, make another choice - live another life. Not these half assed, token sucks of air like people drowning in oceans of their own design - but real, clean, deep down in your toes, get you high kind of breathing. Do this with me right now - Exhale; whatever breath you have in you, force it out of you - empty yourself - push it all out...every last bit. Now, deep and steady in through your nose, inhale as much air as you can comfortably take in , and then take in just a little bit more, and hold it. Hold it in for four times the amount of time you took inhaling...and then release. Exhale normally, and let your breathing return to normal.
How'd that feel? Did your teeth tingle? Feel a little bit high? I know, I know - it's nothing new. Y'all do this in yoga and meditation - but for many of us unenlightened ones, this is not something we come by naturally, because we're stressed beyond belief, because there's too much noise and not enough sound, because there's too much doing and not enough being - because sometimes life...makes it hard to breathe.
But it's not life that makes it hard to breathe - it's all the crap with which we clog up our existence and refer to as life. Life is not our job, or our political affiliation; Life is not our house, or our car, or any of the material possessions that we hold dear. Life is expression. Life is inspiration realized. Life is every unencumbered, unstressed breath that we allow ourselves to take.
We can breathe; we can absorb inspiration freely and easily; we can be divine and mystic and extraordinary and epic...we just have to get out of our own way.
Observe your own body. It breathes. You breathe when you are asleep, when you are no longer conscious of your own ideas of self-identity. Who, then, is breathing? The collection of information that you mistakenly think it’s you is not the main protagonist in this drama called the breath. In fact, you are not breathing; breath is naturally happening to you. You can purposely end your own life, but you cannot purposely keep your own life going. The expression, “My life” is actually an oxymoron, a result of ignorance and mistaken assumption. You don’t posses life; life expresses itself through you. Your body is a flower that life let bloom, a phenomenon created by life.”
~ Ilchi Lee
Breathe easy, my friends.