Here's an exercise: take a breath; watch it go. Take another breath; watch it go; repeat. How simple is this? Do you need a teacher? A book? A building? I can't answer those questions for you, but if you watch long enough, or often enough you will understand its power.
When I was 21 I learned about the power of breath. Such a simple thing: after each exhale, an inhale. Personally, I didn't figure this out all by myself, there was a guru involved. Yes, there were aspects of eastern philosophy involved. Yes, in many ways it was a personality driven spiritual path, and oh, by the way, from age 21 till I was about 24, I lived in a series of communes.
In some ways those few years were the happiest of my life. Everything I owned fit in the trunk of my little car: some clothes, a guitar, a one-and-a-half-inch thick foam pad I rolled out for a bed, and a pair of Birkenstock sandals. A nomad, I don't think I lived in one place for more than about three months at a time. For a few months I stayed, along with about 300 other people, in a large building that had previously been a bottling factory for a major soft drink corporation. For another little while I was a "housemother", cooking a huge vegetarian meal each evening. I started every afternoon by chopping onions, and by the time I was done with that, the evening's menu would manifest in my brain. Each morning, after putting out a breakfast spread, and making about 15 sack lunches, I would wake my housemates by walking from bedroom to bedroom playing guitar and singing "devotional" songs. But no matter where I laid my head at night, each morning and evening, along with my housemates, my closest friends, I would sit and breathe for about an hour.
For the next 20 years life occurred. The 20-ish girl became a mother, a wife. Her babies became children, then young men. I breathed.
Stuff happened; the marriage became broken. As a 40-ish woman, I was on my own again...still breathing.
More life happened. I was learning to love myself again. After years spent as the only female in an all male household, I surrounded myself with women I admired. I went back to school and earned my college degree, then a masters degree. All the while, you guessed it, I continued to breathe.
Meanwhile, I met and married the Manly Spouse and his 13-year-old daughter. Now my lovely daughter is married herself and has two beautiful children. The handsome Older son has 5 (!), the beautiful Prodigal son has one. Life has continued to happen. And I am still in awe of the power that is my breath. I am still watching, waiting for the gift of the next one.
- ► 2012 (14)