When a newborn enters the world, the first milestone is that first breath. It’s as if all movement in the room stops and waits... is he going to breathe?
Imagine going from a warm, dark environment where sound is muted and movement buffered by amniotic fluid to this world. The bright lights of a delivery room must be traumatic and that baby must feel frigid. And then he has to breathe on his own. Oxygen is no longer delivered via a nice placental tube. No, no, buddy. Breathe! On your own!
Breathing is our first response to our first trauma.
How is it, then, when I feel stress, I forget to breathe? Recently a dear friend reminded me to breathe. When you exhale, she said, you surrender. Upon inhalation, receive. I’ve been practicing this using that handy but often forgotten and under-rated muscle: the diaphragm.
When you inhale, the diaphragm should push out and your belly looks full and round like a pregnant lady. When you use the muscle to exhale properly, all the air is pushed out of the bottom of the lungs. Frequently when we are stressed, we breathe out of the top portion of our lungs.
All this musing of breaths and breathing landed me in Genesis 2:7.
Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.
So getting back to the basics of breathing sets us up to remember that we are creatures. God breathed us into life. His breath became our souls. We are spiritual beings with our spirits given from the Creator of the Universe.
My breathing is primal and it reminds me of that first breath when God placed his lips upon mine and delivered life into me.