All Inner Christmas messages are gifts for you. Make them your own through inspired reflection. Share them with those you hold dear and let them be the beginning of a creative and heart-freeing conversation. Dance with them. Dive deep with them. Leap into the heights with them as during the Twelve Holy Nights we live beyond time and space and find the spiritual conditions for profound creative play.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

December 25th, The First Holy Night - The Intention: To Breathe

[Note: please consider the thought, perhaps re-reading and visualizing a few times. Then do as many of the exploration steps as you have time for.]


 How many breaths do you take each day? The archetypal breathing rhythm for a human being is 25,920 breaths each day! 25,920 inhales. 25,920 exhales. Our life begins with an inhale and ends with an exhale. From the first inhale to the last exhale, our breathing is continuous. And we don’t give this breathing a thought and it never tires us.

On this first Holy Night I am asking you to think about your inner breathing - the breathing of your soul.  Your soul breathes.  It inhales. It exhales. What is the intention living in each soul breath?

Ideally, our souls breathe truth, beauty and goodness. Ideally, our soul breathing is a steady even rhythm supporting our evolving individuality and humanity.  Ideally, our breaths would be either innocent or wise.

But in reality, we often breath half-truths and lies, distortions and corruptions, and harm and evils. In reality, our soul breathing is often too quick and too frequent, or too slow and infrequent.  In reality, our breaths often lack innocence or wisdom.

Our souls are continuously breathing all that is around us from all our sense perceptions, the deeds we witness, the ideas we meet, the moods and energies we feel, the hearts and souls of those near to us, always moving from inhale to exhale and another inhale.

Like our physical breathing, our soul breathing can be shallow or deep. How deeply into our souls do we want to take in the world, the thought, the mood or the deed? How does the soul hold its breath?

This past week I attended a concert of the "Messiah" at Carnegie Hall.  It was "breathtaking." I found parts of it so beautifully performed that my soul could barely breathe it in!


Tonight, explore your soul’s intention to breathe. With compassion and self-attention, seek the needs of your breathing soul.  Reflect on the year you have just lived and consider the one you are about to start living.


What did you inhale? What did you take into your inner life? What do you want to inhale over the next twelve months? 
What do you need to exhale? Are you sensitive to the need to exhale what fills your soul? 
Do you hold your breath?
Do you realize that another inhale will fill you soul again? 
What experiences of the year were breathtaking? 


Celebrate the truth, the beauty and the goodness you welcomed into your soul.
Forgive and redeem the shadow breaths.
Feel the confidence of the continuous rhythm of your soul breath.


Do a drawing of your soul’s breathing. Or write a poem.  You might also get up and dance your soul’s breathing. Express your innocent soul’s breathing and then see what changes if you express your soul’s wise breathing.  Is there a difference?  Be playful. Become a newborn on Christmas night.


Please post a comment sharing how and what you realized about your soul’s breathing, it will inspire others.


  1. This is an oustanding beginning to the season, Lynn, thank you. I am immediately taken to a theory of composition that Charles Olson called Projective Verse, in which he said:

    "Verse now, 1950, if it is to go ahead, if it is to be of essential use, must, I take it, catch up and put into itself certain laws and possibilities of breath, of the breathing of the man who writes as well as of his listenings."

    (It's linked on my website, here:

    Others have called this style of composition Organic Poetry and I did my grad work on that.

    What it boils down to is that we must become more perceptive in our writing and all our acts, and a focus on the breath and learning to trust impulses that FEEL right, but are beyond our conscious mind's realm, helps us develop that perception. When we go beyond noticing and PREHEND other things, as Whitehead said, make them a part of us, we learn to screen out those things that don't feel good.

    For those on a spiritual path, we become different beings with each breath. For those of us dealing with difficult families on this day, or during this next week, we must remember to breathe, otherwise we get sucked back into the destructive patterns that nuclear families often create.

    For a poem which starts with breath and honors creative people, see:

    and Happy Holidays.

    Paul Nelson
    Seattle, WA

  2. The candle is lit; the radio carol
    festival clicks off. I quietly struggle to forgive constrictions in my heart-- like saying to myself "That person is just BLAH BLAH BLAH" before I can recieve and connect to the tumbling breath.

    I thought I would breathe tonight with my elderly dog, but she is restless on the first night of Christmas. My meditation is no longer resembling a contemplation!

    The dog needs to go outside to circle and circle on the grass.

    I'm standing at the door waiting to begin;
    waiting 'til the dog comes in.

  3. Paul Nelson is so right on with his evocation of Charles Olson in 1950. The spoken word starts with the breath. Laughter is expelled breath. Whenever I am stuck or angry, I remember the advice my dear friend Deborah always gives me. She just says, "Breathe!"

  4. My husband and I recently talked about what in our lives we want to focus to work on. We settled on our family routines in the morning and evening, when breath often turns short and sharp, infused with lots of sighs and rushing words to the children. To work with my soul breathing, I must work with what is right and good and beautiful for my whole family, conscious what I invite in and choose to exclude. It's easy to hyperventilate these days, so I believe just attempting to steady my breathing, both on a physical and soul level, should be quite healthy. Timely thoughts as this has just recently arisen. I believe tea time will prove helpful with this. Thank you for Inner Christmas 2009!

  5. A poem that begins to express my perceptions and thoughts. A reminder to me to just breathe.


    Inward, feeds me
    fills me

    Outward, my gift
    or curse
    to the world.

    Give receive
    receive give,
    Remember, MY choice of what.

    Remember the peace
    the goodness
    the love
    with celbration and gratitude.

    Let go the fear
    the anger
    the illusion
    Bless it too with gratitude. -- JN

  6. When I think of intention, I regard it as a conscious decision (and I love your definition of it being an imagination of a course of action). So intentional breathing is conscious breathing, either to enter into meditation, or de-stress (or de-temper, 1-2-3...) But these only add up to a couple dozen breaths at best, before I'm no longer uptight or furious and settled into bliss. What about the rest of the 25,900 breaths?

    I'm so glad they're on automatic, which must be by design, kind of like "the veil" that cloaks our all-knowing-ness upon incarnation, simply so we can focus-in on what this life's about.

    I suspect soul breathing is similar: the time we spend like this, within Inner Christmas, is intentional soul breathing, but the soul must be breathing all the time like the rest of us. What to do?

    Maybe the most important part of (in-)tending to the soul breathing is to simply not hang out in smoky rooms! Choose the highest vibe for my surroundings, pick my environment whenever possible, and strive to get out into the fresh air among the trees so my soul has something good to draw upon while I'm paying attention to something else.

    And it's not just the rooms I put myself into every day; I've also got to figure out a way to place myself periodically into those rooms that take my breath sway, the Carnegie Halls that hold my peak (self-defining) experiences. There's eternal breathing room in my soul's Vaulted Cathedrals, the Yosemite Valleys of my inner John Muir. I just have to go there often enough throughout the year.

    Is it really possible to live this way all the time? My inner cynic says, "Don't hold your breath". Finally some good advice from that fellow!

  7. PEACE......can I just breath in Peace? And then exhale it out again? The soul breathes eternally without any effort. Can I focus those thoughts that allow breaths only from eternal peace and allow me to instantly recognize those that are not so they can be forgiven and Peace inhaled again? The soul knows of what I speak. Thank you God.

  8. If I breath with intention, I breath wisely; that is slowly and consciously, savouring every single particle of air and of the atmosphere I am trying to capture with my breathing, filtering it within me in order to cherish its essential beauty and grasp its essential truth.

    If I breath unintentionally, I breath innocently; that is like a child with its rapid pulse, trying to catch up with the world and with life, imbibing every experience and treasuring it as a memory from which to learn something precious and unique for the future.

  9. My breathing has been rather constricted this year, due to tremendous preoccupation with fear & anxiety. I am reminded here of the importance of the soul breath. This is supportive for me right now becasue I so often ignore the breath. I'm expieriencing a paradigm shift about breathing! What can be more beautiful, and soul supportive than that? Thank you Lynn!

  10. Inspired by the chant “When I breathe in, I breathe in peace. When I breathe out, I breathe out love.”

    Breathing Spirals

    Inhaling blues of peace
    Swirling the hues inside my Self
    Heating them with my own inner glow.
    Deepening the breath
    To the satisfying expansion of fullness.
    Then letting go,
    Relaxing and rejoicing,
    exhaling in warm moist colors
    Of greens, of growth, of love.

  11. Dear Friends,

    I am home from a wonderful (mostly) silent retreat at Prince of Peace Abbey. I took the first two intentions with me to work on. I was so glad to be reminded to breathe...I can never have enough of that reminder.

    I wrote the following:
    What has my soul been breathing this year? A mixed bouquet of scents:
    1. Surrender to God's will - narcissis
    2. Acceptance - cedar
    3. Resistance and self-will - garlic
    4. Healing - maaxa (chinese herb burned during acupuncture)
    5. Learning - sun-dried cloth
    6. Creativity - citrus blossoms
    7. Fear - cat spray
    8. Darkness/poison - manure
    9. Letting go - orange
    10. Seeking change/remove and rebuild - pine
    11. Seeking - rose
    12. Simplicity - lavendar

    I yearn for some of these to be the perennial foundation plantings of my soul. I wish that others could be rooted out and discarded.