I say this phrase 3-4 times a day in my role as a wellness coach. It’s one of those that never gets old because it always apply’s to the present moment. Here it is.
When you go through the safety precautions on a flight, the attendant always says, “if the plane is going down, put your oxygen mask on before helping others.”
Something about that phrase resonates with us. Makes us realize, in an emergency, you must have a life force in you, before you can be of any use to anyone else. But here’s the thing; why do we need a plane to be going down or be in the last minutes of our life to realize the importance of putting our oxygen mask on? What about now? If we are not taking in fresh air, fresh oxygen, are we not just spreading toxic, stale air into our lungs and the lives of others? Even worse, what are we missing that is right in front of us, or within us?
In my job, my colleagues and I are listening to people’s stories, stresses, dreams, hopes, and going from one call to another. Most often without time to…breathe in and out, share the heartache with another coworker who understands and can share the load. We just cut and paste the new phone number into our phone system and hit go. Often, without our oxygen masks on, without the “inspiration” a juicy inhale brings, or the release of a long, slow exhale. Oh, the energy and stories we hold inside…oh the stale air we can store up by the end of the day.
For me, putting my oxygen mask on means….giving myself time at the end of the day to let the emotional current of my day….catch and release so I don’t it into the next day with me. Spending time in nature, authentically connecting with other souls, meditating. It’s a moment to moment thing this flow, because with each old moment that passes, there is also a death of the past. One that is essential to let go of before a new moment can arise.
I am taking a class where the instructor took us through a guided breathing exercise. He invited us to notice the moment of pleasure after the inhalation, and the moment of pleasure after the exhalation. Wait….what? I’ve been breathing for 32 years, and somehow I missed it. The sheer pleasure of each breathe moving through my body. Makes me wonder, what else I may have missed?
But you know the beauty of breathing is, you get a new chance each moment. It is the one thing that follows you through this life, this breath…from the moment you are born…the inhale that brings you to life up until the moment your physical body says goodbye with it’s final exhale.
But in the meantime, you have this thing following you everywhere you go. I invite you to enjoy the pleasure and comfort of putting your oxygen mask on. Now, not when you get all your ducks in a row and the planes going down….