2018-07-25 - Breathe
If you are reading this then you continued to breathe throughout the course of sleep, and were given another day. Sometimes, amid a typical day, I forget that - depending on how it started, but our two-year-old dog continues to remind me of it often. Melody is a mix of black Lab and German Shorthaired Pointer, which are known for the ability to follow a scent on a trail, hunt, as well as work-related skills of bomb detection, search and rescue, arson investigation, and drug detections*. Because I know that she uses the ability to interpret the world around her through breathing in and processing scents (as well as it is exercising her mind),
I am mindful to do different things to stimulate her natural desire. The other day I was sitting on the carpet next to her, as she gazed out the window, quietly observing a rabbit and several birds in our neighbor’s yard. She has gotten more used to seeing them out there, yet still loves to watch them. While reading a book by Jennifer Arnold titled: Through a Dog’s Eyes (2010) I learned that normal visual acuity of dogs is 80/20, as opposed to normal human acuity of 20/20. Translation is they need to be 20 feet from something to see it, clearly as opposed to our ability to have clarity from 80 feet. Their sense of smell can give them more information about things they are not close enough to see and with that in mind, I opened the window right in front of her prone self and she proceeded to grace me with her joyful audible engagement, reminiscent of a snorting equine. This went on for several minutes, and by her not growling or barking, it was clear nothing outside was a new scent to her, nor was there a cat present (She is vocal for those, no matter how many times they have crossed her view.). When I hear her letting the inhaled breath escape, by way of shooting her cheeks outward, flapping against her teeth, I know she is content and enjoying mental exercise.
Therefore, when I have the privilege of drawing breath another day, I contemplate the many gains I receive from it. There is floral aroma to soak up, opportunity for conversation, processing oxygen while walking or riding a bike, and the chance to share daily life with others in many ways. Sometimes that means having a good cry or lifting the spirits of another who is having a rough day, but it is life, just the same. Other times it is just breathing silently and listening. A friend told me many times, when something stressful was erupting, to “breathe-” knowing that slow, deep breaths fill our system with oxygen and are conducive to clearer thinking. And it all started with hearing the snort of a happy canine. What are you doing with the breaths remaining in your day? They are a gift to be treasured.
“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)
All scripture references are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.