Waiting to Inhale…

A beautiful day, I’m drawn outdoors. Watching the bluebirds make a nest and enjoying the feel of the breeze on my skin. I sit on the patio chair and breathe.

The breath soothes me. Always. They say it calms the nervous system, reduces stress, improves concentration, and increases energy. But for me it’s simple. It brings me peace.

In through the nose, out through the mouth. Feeling the air with each inhale and exhale. Expand. Contract. After a while, this uncomplicated act creates space for thought.

What else besides lungs expand and contract?

  • Balloons as you fill them with air (or with water if you have a devilish side)
  • Water when it freezes
  • Possibilities in times of challenge and growth

As humans, we often expand and contract. We pull in during isolation and then make a conscious connection to expand.

During these times, the world and its circumstances have taught us to draw in. For safety. In fear. And the silver lining of this internal focus for many has been a shift in the way they think about their lives and their careers. To consider joy and desired quality of life in their work decisions.

As a full exhale completes, the natural next step is to inhale. Pulling the air into your lungs, dropping the diaphragm down, your chest opens, and your head naturally rises. And with it the eyes. You shift your focus up. Up and out. Out beyond you. To those immediately around you such as family, friends, or coworkers. Really seeing them.

And even further, in your mind’s eye, beyond that. To your community. To the world.

You begin to see the common threads. You witness the humanity. The kindness. The good all around us.

And you see what is missing and start to think…what if?  What if I could help?

Because something incredible doesn’t always contract after expansion…the heart. Love. Anyone who has a child knows the powerful feeling of love for that child. It can be so overwhelming that you believe you can’t possibly love anymore.

And then you have another child. And you witness the miraculous expansion of the heart. It’s infinite.

What the world needs right now is that kind of awareness and love. It needs us to breathe in, shift our focus up and out, and allow our hearts to see that we are a part of that humanity.

We can make a difference with our loving focus and conscious actions to do good. And our actions will spark that recognition in others to spread kindness and generate a chain reaction.

First step- Breathe. Then move forward from there.


Heather Hansen O'Neill
Heather Hansen O'Neill
Hansen O’Neill is an international keynote speaker, behavioral expert, author of Find Your Fire, Teams on Fire! and co-author of the new Amazon bestseller- Where’s the Office? Moving Today’s Leaders from What IS to What CAN BE. Heather is also a 2x TEDx speaker, host of the popular podcast From Fear to Fire, and creator of L-FOCUS (Leadership For Our Children’s Ultimate Success). She stimulates vibrant energy, focus, and action for those who want to collaborate effectively, lead change, and achieve massive results. Heather’s mission is to open leaders’ minds and hearts to the possibility within them. She believes strongly in the power of choice to seek moments of humanity and use your gifts to make a real impact on the world.

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  1. Dear Heather,

    First of all, welcome to BizCatalyst360 a family of friends.we are all unique, but there is a common synergy. We empathize and support each other.

    Your essay is a fine example of creating an atmosphere where kindness is projected and received. Kindness is essential at any time, but especially now. Breathing in and out certainly calms the senses allowing thoughts; positive thoughts to join the calmness and enjoy kindness. Kindness is not only liven but received. Like a smile. Smile at someone who looks a little down and that smile will be returned, thus a smile also extends kindness and empathy. And a smile costs nothing and kindness is crucial for peace of mind.

    A really super essay, Heather.


  2. Welcome to the family Hansen!
    I love the simple element of this essay (intentional breathing) that brings to the light the most important outcome:
    “We can make a difference with our loving focus and conscious actions to do good.”
    It starts with us… it ends with us…individually and collectively.
    Looking forward to reading more! #firststepbreathe