Choose to Inhale, Do Not Breathe Simply to Exist: Mattie

Mattie was born on July 17th, 1990 with a genetic defect leading to Dysautonomic Mitochondrial Myopathy. He was bound to a wheelchair his entire life until he body finally came to rest at age 13. But Mattie was born into this world with a gift, a gift that lead all 7 of his books, including Heartsongs, Hope Through Heartsongs, among many others, to become NY Times Bestsellers and landing him on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Primetime, The Today Show, CNN News and many other programs many times to share wisdom with millions of lives.

When I heard what Mattie’s final words to his Mom were, it popped me into a space of clarity.

This 13 year old little boy said:

“Choose to inhale; do not breathe simply to exist.”

How many of us just exist in a choiceless world? How often do we actually choose this breath?

Of course the body will continue to breathe if we don’t choose to breathe, it’s automatic. The newsflash that we may not think about is many of our thoughts and behaviors over time have also become just as automatic as breathing.

Most of the time we’re not choosing to check that next email, scan through Facebook, light up that next cigarette, or even call the person who cut us off a jerk. It just happens.

We don’t choose to flip through channels, shut down in an emotional interaction with a loved one, or even start planning for work in the shower, it’s a routine.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, “Life is routine and routine is resistance to wonder.”

If this quote resonates with you, what would it be like to actually choose to inhale a few times throughout the day? Bring your attention to your breath and intentionally ride that breath in and ride it back out.

There’s something that happens when we drop our minds into a state of presence throughout the day, we get more in touch with the power to choose what we want to do next, choose the life we want.

Ask yourself, does Mattie’s quote mean something else to you as well? How are you breathing simply to exist? Can you choose to inhale?

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Reposted from Elisha Goldstein’s Mindfulness Blog on

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