*This is not a science lesson*
Vital capacity refers to the amount of oxygen we can bring into our lungs in one breath and release. The more the better. Oxygen brings nutrients to every part of our being. Carbon dioxide is released when we exhale, which is toxic to us. The deeper the exhalation the more cleansed we become. Oxygen gives us life and vitality. Releasing carbon dioxide cleanses us from what is harmful.
I thought that was interesting as a scientific reality for many years. Lately I have been living in the metaphor of this. Vital capacity is our potential for true vitality. It’s about living fully consciously reaching for and receiving what we need and letting go of what we don’t need anymore. We cleanse our selves with every single breath.
Our breath cycle, the constant and repetitive action of breathing in and out is a natural process that heals and strengthens us in every moment. Filling up, gathering from and opening to what is all around us provides nourishment, energy and life force. Fully releasing and letting go of what we don’t need heals and strengthens us in every moment. The process of breathing is our life force and contains within it everything we need to grow.
We are inherently designed to thrive.
A significant piece of the breath cycle that often goes by unnoticed is a pause. Every time we inhale there is an almost imperceptible pause, an exquisitely alive stillness that is there before we exhale. Try it as your reading this now. Become aware of your breath coming into you. Don’t force it. You may want to ‘take’ a couple breaths first to get out-of-the-way of your breathing. (I say ‘take’ in quotations because we actually receive breath. So much of our language about the natural process of things is often distorted.) When you are breathing naturally and allowing the breath to fall into you, notice what happens at the end of your inhalation. Is there a moment before you begin to exhale? Is there a place of openness and almost nothingness?
It’s beautiful, isn’t it?
Now go through the same process with your exhalation and notice after you exhale if there is another moment of quiet. Can you sense that quiet in your self? I am never aware of these places of ease and peace without bringing consciousness to them. I have to remind myself that those peaceful moments are there and that breathing is much easier and softer than I usually make it. In fact, I don’t ‘make’ my self breathe at all. Breathing happens. Breathing is involuntary. Pausing and resting is an inherent part of being alive.
Cindy knew all of this without ever being taught anything about breathing. She received what she needed like blessings were falling out of the sky just for her. She took her time and allowed space to rest and pause and be with her self in every moment. And she let go, always. She never held on to anything, ever and because of that she was totally free. Cindy was the most unencumbered person I have ever known. Vitally alive, fully present, soft and resilient like water. Like a gentle stream that is calming and constant she flowed with ease and freedom throughout all of her life. And when she let go of her last breath she floated away on a promise of peace.
Today, notice the gifts of life all around you and bring them in to your self. Let them fall into and all around you like blessings given for you alone. Notice what you can let go of, what you don’t need anymore and simply let it go. Let go and rest in the peace of your being knowing that you are vitally alive and have the capacity to thrive.