SHINE: Joy By The Spirit — The Joy of One Simple Breath

SHINE … By the Spirit™ with Tonya M. Evans

The Joy of One Simple Breath

© 2012 Tonya M. Evans

April 22, 2012

As I searched for some inspiration and material for a completely unrelated topic I intended to cover today, I was listening to an Oprah Life Class® replay on OWN that featured Iyanla Vanzant. Iyanla was shepherding a young man named Joseph through a forgiveness exercise to help him (and the audience by way of example) release anger, blame and resentment against his father. [Watch this powerful “Forgiveness Life Class” episode here]

Admittedly, I was “tuned out” and therefore not catching every word. My primary focus was on reviewing my notes from the past week for sources of inspiration. I was, as they say in New Age parlance, “in my head” and somewhere other than the present moment. I guess you could call it a trip to “multi-tasking land”, doing everything at once but nothing with my full attention.

But a phrase kept breaking through and whispering to my spirit:

“take a breath”.

Each time Iyanla encouraged Joseph to “take a breath” I found myself inhaling deeply and exhaling fully. Every time she said “take a breath” I became aware that I was either holding my breath at that very moment or only taking very shallow breaths. I stopped “typing and researching” and realized that Spirit had again used my own acts of teaching to teach me.

Spirit again met me where I was – in my far away mind – to invite me back to where Spirit dwells, in the here and now. The simple act of a deep, conscious inhalation and exhalation – one breath – returned me back to my own body, to what I needed in the moment … back, I suppose, to the moment itself.

If you doubt the importance and impact of one simple breath, imagine the newborn who has just transitioned into this world; or the person who has been submerged under water against her will and bursts through the water’s surface one breath before she drowns; or the final breath of surrender I saw my grandmother take before she transitioned out of this plane of existence just a few shorts week ago; or the deep breath of resignation and acceptance I took in the every next moment.

As Oprah often says, “when you learn, teach” (a lesson she learned from Dr. Maya Angelou). So I offer to you what I (re)learned today. Remember to breathe today. Use the joyous life cycle of one deep, conscious breath to return to the present moment; the space where Spirit dwells and your divine and creative power thrives. When in doubt (or fear, or confusion, or anger, or unforgiveness, or pain, or hate, or judgment or [insert constricting, limiting thought or emotion here]), stop and take a breath!

Take twelve minutes right now (or soon!) to look at the video below as Iyanla guides us in the power of taking a breath! And please share your thoughts in the comments section on the power in your life of one simple breath.


For more spiritual food for thought from Tonya, visit


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