When we started the 30 Days of Trials Challenge, school had just begun and everyone was easing into new schedules after a long (HOT) summer. You’ve probably been running around like crazy ever since. TODAY’S CHALLENGE–TRY TO CATCH YOUR BREATH. When athletes have been running hard and long, they need time to catch their breath before they can begin again. So do we.

Breathe. In your nose, out your mouth. Then do it again. See how good that feels? Did you know that taking a deep breath through your nose improves cognitive function? It also improves your mood, and maybe your life. I don’t care how fast you are, or how strong you are, sooner or later you have got to catch your breath. I learned that when my mentor and uncle, John O’Brien, had a heart attack in the courtroom. It’s a story I tell in my book, but suffice to say he hadn’t taken time to catch his breath in a long while. Nor had I. And after that experience, I swore that with every sprint, I’d find time to catch my breath. I swore that with every marathon, I’d find even more time. But I’ve failed.

I’ve broken those promises, and haven’t always given myself the vacations and the breaks I’d promised myself. I write these challenges as much for me as for you. Today, let’s all take the time to catch our breath. It may mean meditating for a little longer, reading a book in the shade, or taking a warm bath. Whatever it is, go to the place where your breath is waiting for you. Catch it, and sit with it for a short while. Then carry on with your sprint, or your marathon, better for the additional oxygen in your lungs and the smile on your face.

Now share with us–when was the last time you caught your breath? What does that look like for you? Give us some suggestions of good ways to catch your breath, and we will all learn from one another. Deep breath in the nose, out the mouth. See you tomorrow!


  1. I’m catching my breath and even learning a new way to breath so I can keep up with myself, proving and objecting and being a rebel.

  2. You are amazingly on target again. Though I am 3 days late due to the, this day is the time to receive this. Pardon me while I use this exercise to get a grip…I have finished a 4am-10:21pm day, and now I am starting this.

    I have religious obligations. We just came off of strong days of the holidays that occur after Rosh Hoshanna and Yom Kippur. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday we are in a lighter phase. The best is when every Friday sundown til Sat. sundown with no phones, no electricity, no cooking, shopping, and lots more. Sunday will be a light day. We will ramp up again next Monday and Tuesday, then these holidays will be over.

    Here’s why I mentioned this. These days are an example of catching my breath. Does it sound like breath-catching? Probably not. They are days upon days of obligations that involve heavy meditation and sometimes fasting, and a lot to observe. My weeks and years are filled with intense days and nights of learning and meditation. Believe it or not, it is nothing short of breath-taking and breath-catching.
    I can’t skip the in-betweens – the medical appointments, the plumbers, house things, husband things, paper work, jobs, exercise, time for friends, and being kind (sometimes hard-that’s when things get piled up)…

    My mini-vacations are the Sabbaths, meals with my husband, meditations, walks to work and medical procedures, and exercise. It’s rare to read. If I can get decent sleep, it’s highly rewarding and satisfying, never permanently tiring.

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