Gen 2:7 The Lord God formed a human being from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, so that he became a living creature.
Everything that we do ripples in and ripples out. Let’s take a lie. We plant a seed and it slowly grows…a little root grow out and then connects back to us. Rippling out. Maybe there are more lies to cover the first. Lots of wasted attention to remember to cover for it. Ripples. Rippling back in. Perhaps, a dark feelings of guilt and shame.
Gossip. Maybe that’s an even better example. We all know how quickly and easily gossip ripples out. We’ve all been the gossiper and the…gossipee. Notice what happens if it was us who planted the gossip seed or watered the gossip seed. This isn’t meant to be judgement. We’ve all done it, passed along something that we weren’t quite sure was true or thought was true at the time or even was true but didn’t need to be said. It ripples out like a weed, fed by more than just one person.
I use these as examples, because for some reason it is easier for us to see how the bad ripples out.
But Good. Good does the same thing. Watch your goodness ripple. Especially when it’s also watered by other people. And a reminder to be sure to water other peoples’s Goodness. We’re quick to pass on a piece of news…are we as quick to pass on a piece of Goodness?
I love the concept of Original Goodness. We focus on Original Sin, but what about Original Goodness? God created the world. And it was Good. Perhaps this proves my point that we focus on the “bad”. Original Sin. But we have Original Goodness.
Holy Breath. Holy Spirit. Breath of God. Breath of Life. Wisdom is breath. Wisdom is spirit.
We are given life thought the divine animating breath of God.
We are living embodiment of our little selves, perhaps we could call that the dust of the ground. The mud. The earth. The physical substance of this body. But breathed into that is the animating that is God’s breath. God’s divine gift to each one of us.
Our greatest living gift is our inspiration. Each gift of each new inspiration is another moment to do Good Work. To do God’s Works.
With each one of our expirations, we have an opportunity to inspire. Sharing God’s breathe that is within us to that which is out of us.
How are we using our divine breath? Perhaps we should consider what we can do with our divine breath. First, we breathe. This is a great gift in this time, when it is literally, physically more difficult for us to breathe. For some, more so than others. May we have a deep appreciation for our ability to breathe. Maybe you’re thinking only of masks and trying to work or exercise or just plain breathe. Maybe you’re thinking of more of the social constraints where some people literally have more access to the right to breathe than others.
We share our gift of inspiration with our expiration to use our words. To speak. We inspire through our expiration of carbon dioxide which gives life, just as God’s breath gives us life, we (literally) give life. We offer our gifts of inspiration through our expiration in our deeds and thoughts. Are they worthy of God’s breath?
This time of Covid has turned out lives upside down and yet, given us a space to reflect on our bare essentials. Starting with our breath.
For some, this turning inward and staying home is easy. We’re just here, enjoying respite from interactions. We’re natural homebodies. The world outside is scary and we’re comfortable being insular. We have so much (maybe extra) work to focus on at home. We’re happy to stay and focus on it.
For some, this turning inward and staying home is an epic challenge. We don’t like being stuck here. We like interactions with others. We like going places. We want to see what’s happening in the world. We’re overwhelmed by the extra work at home and don’t have our usual escapes.
We can, of course, add labels. Introverts have it easy. Extroverts are challenged. Hmm. I would argue, it’s not easy for anyone. It’s easy to get caught up in the corners. This person belongs here. This person belongs here. I belong here. Labels. We like to categorize things; it’s comforting when there’s a lot to be uncomfortable about. We embrace labels, even the ones we don’t like because they are…comfortable. We can embrace what was “normal” because it was comfortable, even if it wasn’t really working.
It’s a rare time in history that when we’re falling apart and challenged…when everyone else is too. Usually, we have lots of other people to lean on. Now, we’re stuck in a place with a lot of sharp points and a few less soft places to fall.
We can be ok. We are dynamic beings. We forget that we are inspired by God’s breath. We are not static beings. We are ever evolving, growing, changing…breathing. Each breath is a new moment. God’s breath is a moving, changing breath. Why are we given God’s breath?
It is a gift. What we do with a gift is always a choice (I’m inspired by the power of choice this week). This gift of breath brings us out and beyond these labels of the “dust” aspect of our being and make us something more. It is our moving, ever evolving breath that connects us to God. Grace. Wisdom. Spirit.
When we are given a gift, we are charged with caring for it.
I often come back to Les Mis, when Jean Valjean is given his life by the bishop. The bishop tells him: I have bought your soul for God. Those words alter Jean Valjean’s entire life to come. It changes him.
What if our breath is that same gift? It has bought our soul for God.
Then we must care for it. It is a treasure. Our life is a treasure. And we must do God’s work, whatever that means to you. Good work. Maybe the first step is to remember that even as we are struggling, how can we be helpful? Maybe our first step is an inward focus: what can we do to nurture ourselves first, because we can’t help another if we’re truly not ok. Then turn outward.
How do we share our gift? How do we, for lack of a better phrase, pay it forward? We can breath life into flowers and plants. How do we breathe life into humanity, to those around us?
Perhaps this is an even more important question during this time where we are not allowed to share. I imagine the kids in school: “Stop sharing.” I have to laugh, maybe because it’s not funny. How do we teach our kids and one another to share when it’s extra challenging?
I think this extra challenge can be a gift to think outside of the box. It’s scary to be sharing breath and yet we still are. Inhale. Exhale.
It’s scary to feel so unsteady and alone and yet we are ok. Inhale. Exhale.
Breathing. Inspiration. God’s breathe flowing in. Expiration. God’s breath flowing out. It is already a divine gift.
We’re waiting for normal. We’re in this land of “limbo”. But this moment is also our life and if we stop in this moment and breathe, we realize…it’s not so bad. Is this moment so bad?
Normal. We’re waiting for normal. Normal is never what it was. And some normal is old and outdated and needs to go. This is our opportunity to clear out the wasted breath, the wasted way of being, of doing.
What is normal? What is this “new normal” we’re waiting for?
What would we like to see in this new normal? For many of us, we just want it to be like it was, even if it wasn’t good, it was familiar. But we have an opportunity to learn from this and become better. In our own lives, in our communities, in the world. And watch it ripple. Rippling Goodness.
We can change and evolve. And we’re being forced to take a deeper look at everything in our lives. What we’re doing. How we’re doing it. Why we’re doing it. Maybe that’s not a bad thing. Not easy, but probably not bad.
In yoga, the breathe is often used as an “anchor”. The breathe is always there. It can be comforting and comfortable. It can bring steadiness.
What if God’s breath is the source of this “anchor”? What if we are anchoring ourselves in God with our breath? Remembering that first breath of inspiration and animation. That gift of life.
What do we carry forward? What do we leave behind?
Pause and take a breath. Maybe count to ten (our mothers were wise). We have an opportunity to change in new and exciting and giving ways with each breath. “Choice” has become my anchor this week. We can create a new normal. The breathe anchors us to right now. Accept. Trust. And breathe in God’s Gift. Breathe out God’s Gift.
Allow that Original Goodness to ripple forth.