Honoring Humanity In Everyday Life | About

Breathe In. Breathe Out.

Fever washes over my body. Sweat beads on my forehead. I feel as though I could sit in the middle of blizzard and still be burning up.

Then it switches. In an instant everything becomes a chill. No pile of blankets is enough. I shiver even as I sit before a blazing fire.

The sickness, will it ever end? Will I ever regain control over my body?

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.

The heat of anger rises within me. How dare he say those words? What right does he have to touch so sharply upon such hurts and fears?

I wish to lash back – to unleash the raging flame of my wrath upon him. I wish to make him feel like I do. I want to bring him down to my level.

I struggle to control myself. Avoiding making the situation worse takes great effort.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.

A wave of weariness crashes over me. The day is still young. But where is the energy? Why can’t I do the work before me?

My footfalls grow heavy and slow. Each motion, no matter how small, becomes a great labor. My eyelids feel as though they have been loaded with bags of sand.

I fight to stay alert, to finish my work. It’s so hard. If only I could just sleep.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.

I’m awake when I shouldn’t be. It’s late – too late. I’m tired – so tired. But sleep evades me.

I stare at the darkness of my room. I toss and turn beneath the sheets of my bed. I try counting off sheep. One… Two… Three… Bah, this isn’t working.

My mind denies me what I desire. It refuses to surrender to the sweet and restfulness of sleep.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Fear paralyzes me. Can I do this? Who am I to make such an attempt? Surely, there’s no way I’ll succeed. The dragon taunts me.

In my head plays an endless movie of disaster – of doom beyond recovery. Each dreadful scenario seems real and possible. Each seems too terrible to face.

Throat dry. Eyes wide. I cannot act. I can’t move forward.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.


A few patterns in Taekwon-do have what are called key moves – half-speed blocks or strikes done with a slow, deliberate exhale of the breath.

As we stand in a circle near the end of a recent class, our instructor explains their purpose to our training.

He tells us how in a time of stress – a serious fight or an encounter on the street – the body’s reaction is to speed up, to panic. We lose control of our mind and revert to our base instincts. And as a result, we make decisions that are unhelpful at best – deadly at worst.

Practicing control of our breathing gives us a tool for such circumstances. If we can control our breath, we can calm down. We can take control over ourselves.


We practice. We watch the breath in meditation. We breathe to a rhythm while running. We exhale into a difficult yoga posture. We drink in a breath of fresh air when standing by the beautiful seaside.

Each of these prepare us for when the challenge comes. In those moments where everything else seems to slip beyond the realm of our influence, we will be able to come back.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.