Breathwork class begins with an opening circle. We breathe. We pay attention. We observe. We do not judge. After moments of collective and individual centering, we are given the opportunity to share an intention for the breathwork. My intention is different every time – different in the words I use, that is. However, I think all of my intentions probably find their beginning in one word – healing.
Tonight was no different. I didn’t use the word “healing” but it’s always present in my intention. The words I used were “present” and “aware” – more specifically I want to be aware of the lessons all around me and to do that, I have to be present.
Over the last few months I’ve noticed a shift. Even though we’re still in the midst of the darkness of winter, I’ve felt lighter. Even though we’ve had many days of clouds, fog, snow and rain, I see clearer. I’m more aware, more present. I’m observing my life as I live it.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
Last Friday was beautiful here – sunny, warmer temperature – perfect for a long walk with Denali after work. I came home and went through my usual routine – took Denali out, grabbed a snack and some water, changed, etc. I knew what was next, I knew a walk was not far off. However, while standing at the sink, I looked over and saw Denali lying on the floor looking at me with the saddest face.
I don’t know that this is what she was thinking, but it felt like: “I want to go on a walk and you won’t take me on a walk. We’re never going on a walk ever again.”
I’ve been there before… I’m never going to be happy again. I’m never going to laugh again. I’m never going to [fill in the blank]. I go there sometimes too – to this place of finality and despair, to a place that can’t see beyond this challenging present moment. Those “nevers” can be dangerous.
Surely Denali knows she will go on a walk. Her behavior tells me so when she sees me put on shoes or when she stands by her leash. She understands that we will walk again.
But, in this moment, she doesn’t see it. And, I can’t tell her. I can’t tell her that I just need to get a few things done and then, I promise, we’ll go for a walk. I wish I could communicate with her in a way that would give her comfort in knowing that everything will be okay.
I wonder if God feels the same way? I wonder how many times God looks at me and thinks, “Anne, I promise, it’s all coming together, just give it a little more time.” Just like my relationship with Denali, God and I don’t often communicate in the same ways. I suspect God is always trying to give me a message or sign, but I’m not always aware enough to hear or see it. Believe me, I’m always talking to Denali, the problem is we don’t speak the same language. She hears me, she notices my tone and inflection, she may even recognize a few words, but she doesn’t really understand me.
As I stood there looking at her, I was reminded that there is someone looking at me the same way. Someone who cares for me deeply. Someone who sees the bigger picture. Someone who wants to comfort me but doesn’t always have the words that I understand. I know how much I love Denali and the lengths I go to keep her safe and happy. If I can do that for my dog, surely I can trust that God does the same (and more!) for me.
All of this came from one short glance, one small moment. Imagine what else is all around me if I take the time to pay attention, to be aware. It doesn’t take a lot of time – moments, really. That’s all life is – one moment after another. I want to be more aware of those moments, of those lessons waiting in each one. It’s all around us, if only we will just open our eyes and see.