Breathe Someone Into Life

On rare occasions, we may need to breathe someone into life who is incapacitated in a way that threatens his or her well-being. But most people can and must come to life in their own way and time, and if we try to help them by hastening the process, we end up doing harm.

(From A Hidden Wholeness, pg. 63)

Photo Thanks to Austin Schmid

Photo Thanks to Austin Schmid

Where must you come to life in your own way this week, and how can you be gentle with those places? How will you plan for breathing life into your own lungs as you work?

I think it’s really easy to carry on as if we aren’t breathing. Rushing through the morning. Pushing through until lunch or beyond that meeting just so we’re able to…

On the other hand, it’s easy to breathe. What’s hard is noticing your breath. I think the call to contemplation in real life is a simple call to notice what’s most easily unnoticed. Whether that’s the flicker of a person’s gaze in a conversation or your own hurried nature, pressing against a deep call to an alternative way of being.

Someone told me, in effect, that my calling her to a slower nature was unrealistic. She was saying that I didn’t understand. I did understand. I tried hard to hear her. In fact, I knew more about what she was saying than she did. And there was something in my counsel to her that she was resistant to. She couldn’t quite grasp the simple clarity that comes with breathing.

I was talking out of Palmer’s lexicon to some degree. We have to come to life in our own way. We can’t be rushed into newness. Like birth, gaining clarity and embracing insight is a grueling event. It’s a life and death competition.

Here’s a one-sentence prayer: Life-giver, enable me to brighten in the dismal parts of myself so that I can notice myself and, eventually, others.

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