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Family Matters

We Are Breathing, But Are We Really Living?

April 28th, 2014

By Justin Hubert

Get someplace quiet (for parents, this can be a challenge!).  Have a pen and blank cue card or paper. Sit quietly where you can write.

Take a deep breath, being highly aware of how the air feels as it both enters and leaves your body. Try to think of nothing else, other than the sensory perception of the breath entering, and leaving. Do this a few times, where can you feel the breath? On your nostrils? In your chest? If your mouth is open can you feel it on your lips, or the back of your throat?

Really take the time, six to 10 breaths to acknowledge the sensation.

Now, for each of your children answer two questions (breathe deep while you do this):

1. When my child is an adult what do I want my relationship to be like?

2. In this next season of life (for us the summer season is fast approaching) what do I want my child to learn?

Breathe deeply again, and read your answers as you breath out. If you are a spiritual person, turn these simple answers into a prayer.


Because life can be frustrating! That's why!

No seriously, in the normal course of a day with family there can be so many frustrations, minor ones (stepping on Lego left strewn about) or major ones (someone in the family is facing a serious illness etc.) that often we are go through the motions without being present enough to think about how our actions (or inactions) are affecting those around us and-the-cat-just-puked-in-the-clean-laundry-are-you-@&$%#-ME!! (Looks up to see the innocent eyes of a 3-year-old... Things are coming at us rapid fire, crowding out our ability to just be with each other 

Leadership guru Steven Covey, taught us "begin with the end in mind" which is great, if you can HAVE presence of mind when your 6-year-old drops his fork full of food and spills his water all in one fell swoop. But here you go, we all have to breathe. And we usually breathe in....before what comes out.

People who teach meditation say all we need is ONE conscious breath to centre ourselves (our spirit if you will). Even those who meditate for hours, staying completely present, do so 'one breath at a time.' I began to think what if, I link this one breath, first to my overall goal, and second to my seasonal goal?

Answer? In the grand scheme (think- begin with end in mind) that fork full of food doesn't matter, heck I can't even remember what was on the fork 3 weeks ago, but, I do remember how my grade 5 teacher made me feel... As I breathe in, first this conscious breath reminds me: "Having an awesome, nurturing deep relationship with my son." My second breath reminds me: 'Through relationship this summer, I want to teach my son grow in patience with his 3-year-old sister."

So, what have we done here with breathing? We created space! A wise eastern philosopher said, "Look into the star filled sky, you will see 'things' (stars - nebula planets) but, you will see more space than things.”

What does that mean for relationships? Let there be space between 'things' between interactions, between frustrations, between us.


We are all breathing, but, are we really living?

I want to know if this works for you! Find me on twitter @JustinHubert and let me know!

Justin Hubert - Husband, Dad, Friend, Dreamer. Cultural Architect of: Blogs at:

Tags: Parenting

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