This piece comes via a spark from speaker, pastor, and author, Erwin McManus.
I was heading out for a walk as I needed to clear some mental space and I stumbled upon a teaching called “Exhale, Inhale,” so naturally, I was all ears. Do me a big favor before you read, and take a big breathe in, hold it, then exhale slowly and release your jaw, relax your shoulders and allow it to refresh you.
Most of us have one of two life experiences:
- We give all we’ve got without ever filling ourselves back up
- We try to soak up all we can and keep it inside afraid to let others negatively influence our space
When we experience the first, we are exhaling all day, every day. Have you ever tried half of breathing? It’s not exactly comfortable or possible. This often feels like “being emotional,” empathy, and frustration.
When we experience the second, it’s typically subconscious. We don’t realize that we’re doing it. We crave growth, but can’t seem to feel present enough to implement it. This usually feels like anxiety, going through the motions, and/or trying to “fix” ourselves. This experience is what happens when we only INHALE. We inhale all the knowledge and wisdom we can, but we then hold our breath instead of putting it back into the world.
What we need is a full breath of air.
So if you’re feeling challenged, unfulfilled, or exhausted… Look at what you’re doing more of – inhaling or exhaling. I know that whenever I feel anxious, it’s typically due to an imbalance between the two that shows its head via fear or overwhelm.
How can you balance?
Personally, I try to inhale a bit every morning so that I’m prepared to exhale throughout my day. I also have a bit of extra inhalation on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings. I am NOT always on point (or else I wouldn’t be able to write this piece), but I do my best to check in with myself and adjust accordingly.
So for you, I highly suggest taking stock of your breathing, then figuring out where you can add a touch more inhalation or exhalation in the form of a morning or evening routine, walks at lunch, or an evening with yourself.
It will work wonders on your ability to impact your world in the way you want to, and I hope this little exercise helps you do just that.