Breathing

We, as a people, forget to breathe. We forget to inhale deeply and sense the world in a new way. Instead, so many times we are gasping for air as though we have just emerged from being held under water against our will. However, our breath is our life. Each breath we take is a blessing. With a single breath everything can change. Often people watch little babies sleeping peacefully, belly rising and falling deeply with each breath. May we turn that view on ourselves and observe the belly filling with air and releasing once more. Place your hand on the navel and expand. What a sensation! To experience breathing as a living thing, separate from us and yet what’s holding us together all at once. Ah, the very wonder of it.

Breathing has been a challenge of mine for years. Growing up with asthma and allergies kept me gasping longer than most. Since discovering yoga, the amazing quality of a solid deep breath has been astounding. Learning playful breathing techniques to practice with my students (lion, snake, bunny, alternate nostril, deep belly and so many more) has expanded my diaphragm beyond my wildest imagination. Learning to breathe clears the mind, resets the soul and calms the body.

Then there are the breathtaking moments in life. The ones that really make you appreciate the fact that you can breathe. Sometimes these are centered in complete and utter joy, excitement and shock. It’s so wonderful to have those. Often rooted in love, these are the moments we are enjoy… the happiness of a loved one’s news, a special time in our own lives, bonding with a friend. Pure joy, what a pleasure. May it be embraced fully.

At times, these moments are caused by the shock of something so out of the blue that there is nothing to do but stand there. Or fall to the ground, but the breath is gone. A loved one passes away. A surprise announcement changes the course of your life. You see a horror you didn’t know existed. What do we do in these times? After the initial shock wears off, we take a minute, find our breath, and keep going forward. We learn to breathe again, even if it’s different. The show must go on until the final curtain. We sing to strengthen our voice, shout our love to one another, hum to the song of the wind. The sorrow is there, it’s acknowledged, but we forge ahead. For it’s in these times, we see our strength, courage and hope. We keep breathing.

There comes a time when we feel our breath is not just ours alone. Our ability to ┬áinhale is fueled as trees exhale. Our fully inflated belly is like the bubble floating by. We hear the breath of the birds in their songs, see the breath of the wind as the clouds float by. And we realize, the connection is greater than we can understand. It’s all these things and more. Every fiber of our being is yearning to connect, be a part of, to understand more, to feel more. And so, we come back to where we started. Steadily and calmly breathing again. Peace works its way up through the center our being, filling us up all the way to the crown of the head. As we exhale slowly, we are released fully without collapse. Ah. Here we are. Fully present. Aware. Breathing.

 

Trust

Trust… It’s such a loaded word. One must trust in themselves at all times, but what does that mean? You are always going to be in your life. You are the one true person you can count on 24/7. So, it’s important to learn what you need, how you feel about life and what it’s like to listen to your body, mind and spirit. This means trusting in your decisions, no matter what others think. Trusting that the way you present yourself to the world is the image you would like to be. If it’s not, what can you do about it? What are you willing to accept in your life? What kind of people do you allow in? What types of situations do you engage in? Are there times when you are very uncomfortable or unhappy with your surroundings or company?

Trust your feelings, surround yourself with others who make you feel good about being yourself. Not sure who you are yet? Not to worry, we are constantly growing and changing. It’s up to you to decide which path you will take. Continue to strive for the future that makes you happy, that brings you peace within. Follow your heart and your dreams, trust that these feelings are showing you a path. And if you fall, brush yourself off and try again. Trust that falling is part of the process. You get up stronger, having learned something and move forward. We are all perfectly imperfect. All we can do is trust that we are who we are meant to be and continue on this journey. The world is large, the beauty here is breathtaking. You are a part of that breathtaking beauty. Trust that. We are here to love one another. Trust that. Open yourself to all kinds of love and trust that if your heart breaks, it will heal in time. Allow space for healing, but continue to love, all the time. Love yourself first. Trust that by loving yourself you will be able to give and receive all things more. You are a gift. Honor that gift and build upon your beauty.