8 Minutes

I recently had a conversation with a colleague.  She is a medical professional.  We chatted philosophically about the relative importance of Nutrition, Hydration and Breathing.  She simply asked 3 questions:  

"How long can you do without food?" 

I responded, "I don't know.  Hunger strikes can go on for over a month.  Let's say 40 days."

"Okay.  How long can you go without water?"

I responded, "In ceremony I've gone without water for 4 days."

"Okay.  How long can you hold your breath?"

I responded, "In less than 4 minutes, I would turn blue."

Breathing is essential to our health and we typically never talk about it as the cornerstone of life.

How long can you hold your breath? 

Me?  4 minutes.

What would 8 minutes feel like?

Take a deep breath where you release the tension in your stomach and let the breath drop into your gut like a balloon filling with water.   Release the tension in your shoulders too.

With your next deep breath, purse your lips and release your exhale through your mouth.  Slowly count to eight as you exhale. 

1 count in.  8 counts out.  This is called diaphragmatic breathing.  I learned this technique in Tai Chi.  It is an essential way to breathe in essential oxygen to feed your inner organs. 

Take another deep breath and this time when you exhale, send air through your vocal cords and make sound.  This is your voice. 

Here's the thing:  your voice is NOT for you!

When you disrupt air waves around you by making sound, those sound waves travel through space and jiggle little bones in the ears of the people within hearing distance.  Your voice intimately moves body parts in people who can hear you!

Your voice … Connects.

As a leader, how will you use your voice? 

Your voice matters. 

With recent horrific events with the treatment of George Floyd, I was apprehensive about posting in social media.  Encouraged by colleagues, I stepped up and added my voice.  It is what we, as leaders, do.  Here is a compilation of my posts:

I live in Minneapolis where some ‘so-called’ protests turned into rioting, looting and arson. We have an enforced curfew which was ignored by a violent mob.  For two nights, a friend of mine went to bed with his wife and 2 young boys to the smell of tear gas in their apartment.  Fear spread, generating more violent acts.

Yes, it is time to rise up.  Rise up as the evolved human beings we pray humanity to become.

There is an indigenous phrase, Mitakuye Oyasin which roughly translates ‘We are all Related’. YOU are my brothers, my sisters, my aunts, my uncles, my nieces, my nephews.  My elders.  If we truly live into the phrase, Mitakuye Oyasin, we treat each other with respect.

Harmony is made beautiful and interesting by diverse interwoven notes ... turning a cacophony of notes into a masterpiece!

In this era of social distancing and upheaval, it is time for leaders to step up.  Represent the voices of those who cannot or will not speak.

Do not let Fear win this day!

A true leader does not see leading as a Bold act nor a Courageous act.  To the true leader, leading through adversity is a Necessary act.

Role model your beliefs.   Remember your responsibility as a leader.

When each of us make decisions and act with wisdom, our humanity will win this day!

Wisdom 4 Humanity 

Mitakuye Oyasin

Those are my notes.  What notes will you add?  Add them with confidence.  And please do not convince yourself this isn't your fight. 

This is a fight for OUR Humanity!

2 challenges:

Challenge #1.  As a leader, this is your time.  Step up and SPEAK UP with deep love in your heart.  Perhaps with your notes added to the harmony, we can alter the course of human history.

Challenge #2.  Set aside 8 minutes today.   Breathe from your diaphragm. 

Remember, each breath is sacred.  Each breath is a prayer for those who struggle for breath

who do not    or no longer have   ...

a voice 

8 minutes


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