Some random thoughts on relationships…and breathing.

To know when to go away and when to come closer
is the key to any lasting relationship.
(Doménico Cieri Estrada)

Sounds like breathing. Go away. Come closer. Inhale. Exhale. Breathe.

Indeed. But how to know what to do when? What if what I want and what you want are not the same; in fact, radically different? What if I want you close while you want me to go away? Or vice versa? Inhale. Exhale. Breathe.

Life and relationship are so much harder than a beautifully-phrased quote. Even so, this one offers me wisdom, insight, and perspective. No matter the relational context: family, work, pet, lover (not necessarily in that order) we have to be able to draw near and pull back. Inhale. Exhale. Breathe.

Today, as I sit here and consider all this, I’m aware of how much I need to pay attention to my own breathing. Where do I need to inhale; to draw near to myself? And where do I need to exhale; stop being quite so introspective and give myself space (if that’s even possible). Where do I need to inhale and draw nearer to others – even if that’s risky? And where do I need to exhale and create room for them to be/think/feel whatever they want? Where am I being invited to stand apart, to remain intact, to be solid and whole on my own? Where am I less-whole because I won’t allow another to impact me, to change me, to really see me? Inhale. Exhale. Breathe.

Yes, breathing feels like the right metaphor. I breathe in and draw you closer. I breathe out and create space for us both. I breathe in and let you impact me. I breathe out and let my impact on you have its way. Inhale. Exhale. Breathe.

To know when to go away and when to come closer
is the key to any lasting relationship.
(Doménico Cieri Estrada)

What can we do
but keep on breathing in and out,
modest and willing, and in our places?
(Mary Oliver)

breathe