Life, Mood, Stress

Just Breathe…

I send out this post with special thoughts for those of you who are worried, weary, grieving, hurt, or ill this holiday season. The holidays are an extra tough time to be dealing with life’s punches.

I’d heard the expression for years.


Big deal.  So what.  Platitude.  Simplistic.

I didn’t get it (and I also didn’t give it much thought).

And then one December, my father was sick.  Really sick.  On his fourth hospital.

Throw in unexpected company, the start of an MFA program, and quickly approaching Christmas with its trappings (or should I say traipsing, here or there in a hundred different directions on holiday errands).

I was opening the car door after finishing another errand.  If I could have sunk through the parking lot to the center of the earth and stayed there, I might have.

I remember holding onto the door handle for a second.   “Breathe,” a voice from within instructed.  “Stand still Barbara and breathe.”

I did.

And then I got it.


Sometimes, standing still and breathing is just  what you need to do.

Sometimes, at least in that moment, it’s all you can do.

But small miracles abound in those breaths.

Almost always, they fuel the courage to go on.

Photo:  On Bald Head Island off the coast of North Carolina, there are four one room cottages that sit by the harbor.  Named for the elements, they are Water, Fire, Earth, and Air.  I present you the sign that hangs on Air, in honor of the air we breathe.  With gratitude, air!

Winners of Unwrapping the Christmas Creche are Elle and Leslie!

16 thoughts on “Just Breathe…”

  1. Yes! I find it amazingly helpful to stop and just breathe. I learned in yoga, years ago, that concentrated, deep, regular breathing can calm my mind and body. Perfect for stress filled times but good for everyday use, too! : )


  2. great advice indeed. such a basic, involuntary function and to think that sometimes we need to tell ourselves to concentrate and do it. but it helps immensely. i often do deep breathing to help relax and fall asleep at night. and equally important and critical is the stopping part!! stop and breathe!


  3. I always breath deeply whenever something hits me strong (emotionally).
    It definitely helps me calm down. And yes, sometimes that’s all you can do at the moment.


  4. What a lovely reminder of something so simple and yet truly profound. At this time of year, each of us needs to remember that standing still and paying attention to our breath is one of the very best gifts we can give ourselves.


    1. Yes, and we’re so bad about giving ourselves gifts. (Although I did buy myself a pair of gloves with hopping rabbits on them the other day. I’m now trying hard not to lose them.)


  5. Wow I won the childrens book. So cool! My granddaughters will love it. How do I get my mailing adress to you? Thank you for offering this give away. I enjoy your blog and am so excited to have one of your books.


    1. Hi Leslie, I sent you an email, but you must not have received it. Glad you saw this! Send me your address to the email on the right. Also, tell me the names of your granddaughters and I will inscribe the book to them.


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