Breathing Spaces is a holistic approach to spirituality, wellness and creativity for all who are seeking to find their way to a new sense of self, other and Divine Presence in a rapidly changing world.

Our hope is to accompany you into the breathing spaces of mind, body and spirit where all is well and all things are possible in the presence of the Spirit who dwells within.

To support you on this journey, Breathing Spaces offers wellsprings to nourish the pilgrim soul: retreats and workshops, spiritual direction, wellness programs and practices, ventures into creativity and play, and a community website of reflections, resources, and related links.

Breathing Spaces is also committed to providing our services to underserved communities. Please visit the “Community Wellness” page to find out more about this initiative.

Of course, Breathing Spaces could not function without the support and service of many spiritual guides and wellness practitioners who give of their time, expertise and healing energies along the way. Visit for their words of wisdom on these pages.

It is our hope that Breathing Spaces will lead you to discover the inner possibilities that change outer realities. All we ask is that you pass along your own stories of journeying to breathing spaces to whose who walk with you … and to those who need a hand.

To borrow Mary Oliver’s “Instructions for Living” may we suggest the same instructions for finding your breathing spaces:

“Pay attention.Illustrated image of a group of joyous women standing in a circle

Be astonished.

Tell about it.”

May you today and everyday wander into the wonder of your breathing spaces.

Mary Byrne Hoffmann – Writer, Spiritual Director, Wellness Educator

The Beginnings

Some 20 years ago, on a day that was cluttered and cramped with too much to do and no time to breathe, I sat in my car by the river in Nyack, NY, intrigued by a story on the radio that was about to change my life.

I have long forgotten the details of the story. What I remember is the heart of the story and of a woman who had developed a unique approach to working with children suffering from trauma. The idea was simple: to provide children with dedicated time and space to resource their innate creativity and healing energy through movement, music, art, play and quiet. The results were astounding. Children who had been locked in the small places of their fears found the big places of their imagination and, consequently, their childhood.

As I listened, two words, “breathing spaces,” floated into my consciousness to describe what had been given to these children. The next thought was that this is exactly what so many of us need who are trapped in the frenzy of a demanding and overwhelming lifestyle punctuated by the incessant “pings” of digital distraction—Breathing space to reclaim a spacious, playful sense of ourselves and one another as partners with Divine Imagination in the ongoing creation of a mysteriously evolving universe.

The rest of the story…

That was the beginning of Breathing Spaces a centered, attentive, simple way of life, practice, service and play. Labrynth with waterMostly, a gesture of gratitude. For over 20 years, the invitation into breathing spaces—those wonder filled wellsprings of spirit, wellness and creativity within all of us—has been extended to people of all ages and all walks of life. These encounters with children, teens, adults, elders, women, men, those of us who are imprisoned, detained, without homes, without peace of mind, bereft of spirit, in recovery, seeking wholeness, seeking one another, seeking Spirit have shaped who I am more than any degree or achievement.

That being said — for the record — here are the minor details …

  • Founder and Spiritual Director, Breathing Spaces
  • Interfaith minister in the Celtic Christian tradition (Div., Union Theological Seminary, 94))
  • Spiritual Director (Certification, Guild for Spiritual Guidance)
  • Chaplain ( Joes Village, San Diego)
  • Wellness Educator (Certification, Capacitar international)
  • Writer (Curriculum, spirituality, plays, childrens books, blog)
  • Teacher: Religious Studies and Spirituality & Media (1998-2012)
  • Producer: Over 25 social justice documentaries for network television (1987-2002)

Mostly, at this time in my life, I am grateful to have lived long enough to frolic freely in the breathing spaces and to wait for whatever happens … and then pass it on.

Breathing Spaces

Every morning, the Breath that breathes through us reminds us that we are not alone and in that mystery there is great comfort and great unsettling. And so we humbly and gratefully ask for the courage to be present for it all.
- Mary Byrne Hoffmann