Breathing as a Bridge between You and Your Committee


Recently I went to a dance event called Diavolo at the Straz Center in Tampa where I live. These performers are dancers, gymnasts, athletes, and acrobats. While completely impressed with their strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular capacity, I was struck with their teamwork. How did they trust each other, know when to hold on, when to leap and when to let go. During a question and answer period at the end a performer gave a clue—“we listen and respond to others’ breathing.” Yes, breathing was the “in sync” ingredient that bridged their physicality to teamwork. They were strong and they moved together, but it was the breathing that allowed them to flow together.

We can all learn lessons here. The lesson is to be conscious of your and other people’s (e.g., mentor/committee) actual and metaphorical breathing. Notice if you or they are rushing, or not fully engaged and address that awareness. Perhaps don’t be so task oriented and develop a relationship with the people you are talking to. Know too there’s a time and place for hanging on and a time for letting go. Come on, the outdated hanging on may have fit you last year or 20 years ago but it’s late in the day. Breathe. Consciously breathe for your own centering, and to connect in a meaningful way with your mentor and committee. Breathe, be aware of who you are engaging with, and connect!

Very best,
James Lani, Ph.D.

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