Year 2020, Skill # 24: Inhale, Exhale

To be human
is to become visible
while carrying
what is hidden
as a gift to others.
—David Whyte from What To Remember When Waking 

Lying facedown on the physical therapist’s table, I winced and curled my toes as he inserted needles down my neck and into my shoulder. I connected to my breath, as I know to do when I need to breathe through some pain, and these words came to me—or more accurately, felt “given” to me. 

“Let there be healing, let me be light”

Inhale: Let there be healing.

Exhale: Let me be light.

And so I inhaled and exhaled, with these words on the breath, and descended into a restful place of meditation. Several times during the ten minutes of electricity thumping my muscles the therapist asked, “You doing ok?” I always responded with a simple, “Yes.”

Wasted Pain?

Tears came up during this time. Let there be healing. There is so much pain in the world right now. So much more than my spasm-ing levator scapulae muscle. But at that moment, my own predicament was a metaphor for a deeper wounding in the world. There is so much that is aching, contracting, holding, locking down, in need of help. Breathing in deeply, let there be healing, took me down to a core belief I have.

I believe that in God’s economy, nothing is wasted. Another way of saying this is that in the way the Universe is designed or structured, nothing is wasted. No experience, relationship, sickness, pain, trauma, addiction, state-of-being—nothing is wasted if we see ourselves on a journey of evolving consciousness and transformation. In my Christian faith we might say that we are becoming more and more aligned with the mind of Christ. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you will discern what is the will of God, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2.  Hafiz, the great Sufi mystic and poet said  “Oh little by little, you will turn into God.”

I believe that God can use anything to increase our awareness of our connectedness to and dependence on the Holy, to all-beings, to the planet, to each other, to our souls. Although people are hurting at varying degrees of intensity, we are all hurting in some way right now. Inhale. Let there be healing. What needs to heal for you? In your immediate world, where is healing needed? Look at your community, state, nation, and world? What needs to heal?

Go Into The World

What I also deeply believe, is that we—yes, you and I—each and all—are sent into the world to be Light. The way that you carry this out is completely individual. You may smile at a neighbor, you may be a protestor. Both shine the Light. You may care for your dying parent, you may work the polls. Both shine the Light. You may be healing your wounds from abuse, or working at the local food bank. You may be writing a blog, or starting a local not-for-profit. When you go out into the world, with the intention of being the Light, you will be used. Mary Oliver says it this way in one of my all-time favorite poems, To Begin With, The Sweet Grass.

I have gone out from my confinements,
though with difficulty,
I mean the ones that thought to rule my heart,
I cast them out, I put them on the mush pile.
They will be nourishment somehow. (everything is nourishment, somehow or another)

Inhale with me. Let there be healing.

Exhale with me. Let me be Light.

What We Let Happen

The pandemic will not be wasted unless we let it be. The new wave of civil rights activism will not be wasted, unless we let it be. There is so much that needs healing, and we have a choice about how we will use this tragedy to contribute to the healing that needs to happen. The oppression that comes from all the “isms” will not be wasted. Racism, sexism, anti-semitism, all need healing, as we continue to learn to stop “othering”. We are all connected. What is good/bad for you is good/bad for me.

Inhale with me: Let there be healing.

Exhale with me: Let me be light.

May we find the marvelousness of healing in this messy world. May we be the light to this messy world.



I have a private practice of individual psychotherapy and marriage counseling in Columbia, SC. A few years ago my book, Moment to Moment: The Transformative Power of Everyday Life, won Spirituality and Health’s top 100 books of the year.  I am passionate about many things in life, but especially about psychology, spirituality, dancing, cooking, marriage, family, friends, writing, traveling, and learning.

You can email me at [email protected]






2 thoughts on “Year 2020, Skill # 24: Inhale, Exhale”

  1. At this moment, right now, after my cat just gave me a serious bite that hurt like hell and I probably overreacted by screaming and shouting and then finally sobbing uncontrollably for 10 minutes, followed by washing and bandaging, these words of yours are maybe the most important you’ve ever said to me. Because they were for me.

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