Breathing Through Holes

The breath you just now drew in your lungs is keeping you in land of the living.  And if you’re a singer, you learn to breathe from the gut–just a figure of speech.  Breathe in, breathe out.  Observe how each inhalation (oxygen enters body) turns into an exhalation (Carbon Dioxide exits).  Be aware of your chest rising and then falling, and be grateful for this amazing cycle. You’re not dead!

When things get rough, as the normally do after a good moment in life, sit or stand upright and breathe.  Breathing is automatic when the respiratory system is functioning properly, but it’s a powerful process you can somewhat control, for a moment.  I think you might agree that nothing else really maters if you’re not breathing properly. Well, at least in this lifetime, because if you’re not breathing right, you wont have the oxygen and energy to survive, and your heart and brain waves will soon stop.

We are porous beings.  This means water, air, and other metals and gases can permeate our bodies.  Many are the open holes making up the whole of our system.  We have holes leading to our lungs (nose-hole, trachea and bronchial holes), eating hole (mouth), hearing holes (ears), hole leading to our creative wombs, holes which expels our liquid and solid wastes (Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Da!), and the ones on the skin that often causes unpleasant odors after a good workout, are among some major ones.

Holes are vitals to our existence.  Humans often plant seeds through holes, and in due time and season something expands, is birthed, and grows.  Holes connect every cell to our fibrous being, they regulate entrance and exits through our cells.  It’s how cells usually communicate.   And I believe there are holes connecting every breathing and non-breathing thing in this wonderful universe, albeit some processes not readily visible to the human eye–like the invisible and mysterious black holes which tends to swallow matter, gas, light, anything that hovers near or falls up in there.

Oxygen is electrifying and combustible.  It’s also the most abundant element in our earth’s crust.   It ignites the fire of life in us.  Without oxygen humans and many earthly things will decompensate and die.  This is why breathing through holes is very important. Simply put, when you breathe in, this oxygen molecules travels through your nostrils to the lungs, through blood into the circulatory system, across thin capillary fibers (smallest of arterial blood vessels) where they are taken up (diffused through holes) into the cells.  Of course it’s more complex than that, but this is why I didn’t further my education to get a masters and doctorate in biology.  The preceding was enough knowledge for me to chew.

Sometimes I find myself trying, unconsciously, to trap the oxygen rich air I breathe in, especially when I am stress and when everything isn’t happening according to my wishes.  Oftentimes my breathing becomes shallow, and I feel terrible.  We often try holding and imprisoning the breath in our chest, and it becomes stale and poisonous.  You see, when you breathe in (a very powerful cycle), there is a natural tendency to breathe out.  So if you hold your breath purposefully long enough, you’ll pass out.  The respiratory drive in your brain will deem you foolish and take over, no doubt.  But the system will allow you to subconsciously regulate the flow at times, which is what we do when we’re stressed and are plagued by a host of ugly emotions such as anger, anxiety, and hopelessness.

Like a prayer, when problems assail me, I’m learning to return to the breath.  I appreciate breathing through open holes in my body, (mouth, nose, trachea, bronchioles and alveoli, lungs, circulatory system, skin cells, etc). Some people take these for granted, abusing and victimizing the system through smoking cigarettes and other drugs, but this deep breathing through my body usually centers me.  It can control your heart rhythm and brain waves, and also lightens your spirit. The breath is that powerful. When you take a deep breath, try to feel the openness of every cell in your body, holding on to nothing.  Why should you?  Relax in the calming effect of a proper oxygen level delivered to your system.  It’s renewing and restoring.  Being mindful to return to the breath helps you stop, feel, and contemplate what really is bothering you.  It helps you let go to the openness of grace God has given us. Slow your breathing down and take a conscious deep breath or two.  You’re not in a fight or flight situation in this moment.  When you’re in danger, and your system is failing, the respiratory rate increases in attempt to get rid of acid in your system due to carbon dioxide buildup (a bi-product of respiration).  If this is not your case.  Breathe!  Deeply.

OYE!  For three years I witnessed my mother’s state worsen because there was a thyroid tumor wrapped around her breathing tube.  The doctors tried to remove the tumor, but unfortunately each time it came back more aggressive.  In the end it took her life, last year.  I’ve worked in the ICU setting for two decades, and am well versed on how to use supplemental oxygen, ventilator life support, some potent drugs and other invasive measure to help keep people alive, but I couldn’t do a damn thing to help my mother live.  I’ve learned many valuable lessons lately–to respect the power of holes (especially the breathing ones), and the process of slowing down to take a deep breath.  I have to confess, it is this technology that’s helping me navigate some very raw moments, still.  Take care of yourself.  Have a deep appreciation for the beautiful holes God placed in your body to keep you alive and porous, especially in Spirit.  In life, press to breathe, freely!