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Meaningful Reflections: Breathe

Meaningful Reflections with Chaplain Kim Crawford Meeks is a monthly column that provides words of encouragement for associates at USA Health.

Published Mar 7th, 2022

By Kim Crawford Meeks
Spiritual Care Manager

We start this life with a breath. I personally didn’t breathe for 11 minutes when I was born. My mother thought I was dead, and the doctor told her I had severe brain damage. My mother’s OB-GYN, Dr. Gravlee, inserted a tube down my throat and breathed for me. Dr. Gravlee gave me my first breath. He changed the course of my life.

Along the journey I noticed that I hold my breath when stressed. I realized I wasn’t honoring the gift of breath. I started taking intentional and deep breaths, taking time to be still, and to remember that each breath is an opportunity to draw peace into life. 

Scientists at the University of Virginia and Harvard conducted research on stillness, meditation and prayer perceived by many as doing nothing or a waste of time. Participants were asked to sit alone in a room for 15 minutes without a phone or TV, and nothing to read. They were shown a button that, if pressed, would deliver a static shock to their ankle.

When left alone with nothing else to do, 67 percent of men chose to shock themselves, and 25 percent of women did the same. One person pressed the button 190 times! The author summarized their findings in Science magazine in 2014: “Most people seem to prefer to be doing something rather than nothing, even if that something is negative.” Perhaps as a society we do not take time to honor our breath and to be still and breathe.

Take time to be.
Be aware of love.
Be aware of self.
Be aware of breath.
To breathe.
Breathe grace.
We feel yesterday but can’t change it.
We dream of tomorrow but can’t touch it yet.
We are right here, right now.
There are 86,400 seconds in a day.
86,400 opportunities to receive grace.
86,400 opportunities to give grace.
Inhale grace. Exhale grace.
Breathe grace.

Tip: Inhale through the nose for a count of 6; hold for a count of 7; exhale slowly through the mouth for a count of 8. Repeat.

Patients, family members and USA Health associates are encouraged to call the Meaningful Reflections Line at 251-445-9016 for a daily recorded word of encouragement.

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