Why “Just Breathe”is not Enough

A little over a week ago, 9 people were killed by a man 21 years young, in the basement of their church. Outrage, anger, sorrow are some of the emotions people share feeling, and how to respond to their emotions and this tragedy, a struggle. I shared my initial thoughts in an article I posted on my website and one of the responses I received was “just breathe”. Now, I teach people I work with how to use their breathing for lowering anxiety and stress. So why did I find myself feeling irritated by this response to “just breathe”?

“Just breathe” seems a kind enough response to my feelings of outrage and pain, yes? Earlier in my life I would have thought so and ignored the feeling inside that more was needed. Yet my life experience’s have delivered priceless wisdom about the need for both inspiring words and conscious action. Too many women fall into the trap of talking and talking about what they don’t like yet fear speaking up or taking action for making things better. Women who then end up feeling badly about themselves and feel helpless or hopeless in their life or a relationship.

As Elizabeth Cady Stanton offered  “The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and not only hesitate to tell the truth within us but fail to act upon it, the divine floods of light and life flow no longer into our souls.” Women’s power emerges in large part through her willingness to give voice to the truths she feels within, to give voice to what is waiting for her to speak up for. Women’s power emerges when she owns the divine grace she is and engages her grace and soul for transforming the world.

The Reverend Clement Pinckney-one of the 9 people killed in Charleston last week-was both a minister and a State Senator. When asked why he chose to be both, he said he knew prayers alone would not help the people he served gain the jobs they needed for a better life. He said he needed to both serve his faith in God through his ministry and serve his underprivileged constituents through politics. “Both faith in the prayers he offered and taking action in the world he lived in were needed for making things better.”

I leave you with but one suggestion instead of my usual list of a few. A suggestion for when you find yourself in pain or despairing about a relationship or the state your life is in. Give this one suggestion an opportunity for you to experience the guidance and wisdom within you. Close your eyes, focus your breath into your heart, and say to yourself ”Divine Being of compassion and grace I am, bless me with loving myself and my life today”. Feel these words as they resonate within you and receive what comes forth when you offer yourself these words. Then commit to taking action with the power and presence of your grace as a woman.