Breathing Through Grief

Photo By Cara Hope Clark

Are you as intrigued as I am by life’s synchronicities and how our divine or higher selves find ways to communicate with us? My son Noah and I have been talking over the past few days about breathing and how we tend to hold our breath, especially while we are in high stress mode. Sure, our bodies are on automatic pilot, thankfully breathing in and out each second of our lives. However, do we really experience the expansive breath we truly need unless we make a conscious choice to engage with that practice? Noah has begun to do just that and feeling it’s full benefits. He told me that he feels much more relaxed, less stressed and feeling more Zen-like during his daily activities. He has been an inspiration, illuminating this path that I have found hard to be consistent with. So last weekend I started following his lead, working with my breath. I thought great, I can do this, I am ready to make this commitment to myself. I need a reset to help calm my nervous system. I have been feeling that tug from Spirit actually for some time now, gently nudging me to slow down and re-focus more on my healing. Re-learn how to just BE! I have gotten off track with that, I used to be so good at it, pre-parenthood that is. So it has been a while. Even though I have slowed way down comparatively speaking, I have been realizing that I put a lot of pressure on myself to do more than is really good for me each day. I need to prioritize, rest more and yes maybe even take blissfully indulgent naps!

So with all of this being said, an interesting thing happened last Sunday night. I didn’t have a cold but felt the need to cough, afterwards I noticed that my chest felt weird. It felt like I had done something to my sternum. I felt pressure and it ached when I drew a full breath. So I went into self-care mode to help my body heal. Later in the week, I was able to get in to see my chiropractor who put my sternum back into alignment.

I find this really intriguing, don’t you? Here I was ready to step into a practice of being more conscious of my breath and to slow myself way down then this happens! I had no choice but to slow down and have a heightened awareness of my breath! I did not sleep well this week so I took some of those divine naps I talked about earlier. I unconsciously created the perfect laboratory to delve deeper into my own process.

I find it curious too that in addition to all of this, early in the week the wind was fierce here in CO. It seemed to reflect my need to allow my breath to flow unrestricted, unapologetic as characterized by the wind. On top of that, there is Hurricane Matthew roaring through the Atlantic! Apparently, in the Hebrew text there is one word used equally for breath, wind and spirit. I find that remarkable in this context. Spirit is breathing the wind as it breaths through us. When we can let Spirit breath us, we are in the flow. When we find ourselves holding our breath we can be sure fear is the underlying culprit and we are restricting the natural order. Fear and stress block the freedom our breath is meant to have.

Now, let’s relate this to our grieving process. It goes without saying that our breath during these times of grief is constricted. Also, not surprising at all in this current scenario the sternum is right smack in the middle of the heart chakra. With this psychical symptom, I am being shown that I still have more layers of healing to attend to. My heart is literally aching. Grief is re-surfacing. I am missing my dear husband Claude deeply. I am grateful for the distinct reminder that there are still feelings that need to be tended to. This is a good thing. I have learned to trust that when these emotions and physical manifestations present themselves it is a gift that will assist me, helping to illuminate that which is yet unhealed within my heart.

So let’s be mindful of our sacred breath, and allow ourselves to be breathed by this Universal Force that we are all an integral part of. Are you like me, in need of a re-set with your habitual breathing patterns? Are you willing to begin to be mindful throughout your day of how often you are literally holding the flow of oxygen through your system? Can we learn to breath more smoothly through our lives even when things and events appear to keep us from doing so? This is a practice it takes time to create new habits. I am willing to give it my best shot. Are you willing to join me?

Until next time, keep breathing through all your life’s challenges.

All Love,

Cara Hope

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2 thoughts on “Breathing Through Grief

  1. In and out, without us even being aware. So what are we doing while this is all going on? Thanks for this thought provoking post. And homework too! Love it.

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