The Breath of Word
“No you’re not” he said with his eyes burning so brightly I couldn’t tell if he was crazy or for real.
Our breathing is intimate with our words. Just try speaking without breathing out and you’ll find realise this very quickly. Or try doing a speech while breathing in as you speak and see how long you can last…
The very full question I sometimes reach with people is “if breath connects us to life, what would you want to do with that breath, and with that life?”
But during that life, with whatever “purpose” attached and many times per day, we use that breath and that life to make our words.
Our words communicate our thoughts, intentions, feelings and actions to the world around us and each word we speak aloud requires breath.
So the next question I should ask is “what do you want to say with your breath”
Yesterday I heard someone who influenced my career beyond words had died suddenly of a heart attack, I hadn’t spoken to him in over 3 years. He’s quoted above.
“No you’re not”.
What he was telling me through these words on our first meeting is that no, I wasn’t going to retire to the country at 33 years old and start a maintenance business. What I was going to do is devote my life to the healthcare of others and step it up into a true profession, beyond the relative mediocrity of experience I had achieved to date.
I have a lot to thank him for and many, many words went under the bridge between us since that day, not all of them positive. The irony makes my head spin with a litany of thoughts and ideas from what my friend Richard would call “The Script”, that spinning teledex of internal dialogue.
One message however, is clear as the winter sky I’m sitting under, when breathing your words, do so with care. No matter how turbulent or troubled the waters under the bridge, life is too short and too precious a gift for holding onto hurtful words.
Exhale softly, speak kindly and give the benefit of the doubt while maintaining personal integrity.
Easy to say.
A Lifetime to practice.