“The breath is life. It has intelligence. When it notices you taking interest in it, it will begin to offer you many gifts. If you keep turning to the breath again and again, life will know where to meet you, how to find you. The breath of life responds to your enthusiasm. Use your breath to generate energy of love and joy and peace, of courage and compassion and freedom, of wisdom and health and aliveness.” Dan Brule
No one ever decides early on in life to “check out” of their body. We come in to this world FULL of life and zest for living (except for the imprint of our own womb experience and birth trauma). We take it all in- that full sensory world, vibrating to the cosmos, open, vulnerable.
And then life reveals itself in full technicolor. Who are these people? What are they seeing, saying, doing? How are they interacting with me? What is this place? How is it feeling to me? What are the textures, qualities? And how am I experiencing all of these things?
Like photographs in our own psyche we create memories, but what’s more we create imprints in our cellular structure and we respond to our experience with our bodies and our breath.
Bessel Van der Kolk speaks of this in his book Your Body Keeps the Score about how our cells carry on memories of previous experiences even before we have language to describe them. “We have learned that trauma is not just an event that took place sometime in the past; it is also the imprint left by that experience on mind, brain, and body. This imprint has ongoing consequences for how the human organism manages to survive in the present.”
But can we ever fully depart from the essence of who we are- that connection to the cosmos? It’s true that through difficult life experiences, including those of neglect, abuse, and challenging life situations, that there does seems to be this “departure” from who we are. Sometimes as much as even disassociating from our own bodies- hovering and disembodied.
We can create falsehoods from this place, beliefs about who we are, who we should be. We stop trusting ourselves- cutting off the very core nature, the “maha” essence of who we are when we even come to this Earth.
And we hold our breath. We fill the chest and mind with fears and have difficulty connecting in our relationships or knowing which way we should go in our life purpose out of fear of doing the “wrong” thing.
If any of this resonates with you- know you are not alone. In fact I often tell a story in my offerings about one of my first experiences of Breathwork where my teacher would say to me- “Breathe in the belly” and I was like- what???? I couldn’t find it. It’s like I wasn’t “there”.
The process of embodiment (or returning to ourselves) has become a growing movement through mind-body practices now for years. And thank goodness- as for those of us who live in the western countries we get this programming all the time- that outside forces hold more power than what we have inside ourselves.
The truth is, many wise sages experimented with re-embodiment practices ages ago through breath and meditation not only to elevate their consciousness but to create a bridge between the two worlds of self (which is why I love Bessel Van Der Kolk’s work presenting the importance of somatic-based therapeutic practices).
Perhaps you’ve even experienced this yourself in a yoga class or during a massage where suddenly your breath slows and connects and you feel this glimpse into your own embodied nature that still vibrates to the cosmos. In fact, sometimes from this place you experience this huge wave of grief- like “Where have I been?” “Why did I leave myself?”
Our breath, this BREATH, helps us to be here now- tethered. In fact it’s the first thing we do when we arrive that helps to animate ourselves into being. And it’s the last thing we do when we die- releasing that attachment to “self”.
And all the days and moments in between, in our life, we have this conscious choice to stay with ourselves through breath rather than “check out” go “unconscious”.
It’s amazing to me, Breathwork is, how the breath itself that can this most powerful and incredible integrator of life experiences for people. It’s like the ultimate returning to ourselves. But of course it is. It’s the breath.
This breath. Returning. Remembering. The same breath of the cosmos.
Try it now- as you breathe and read this. Can you connect to that place inside of you that is unmarred by your life history? Can each flowing breath help your body to process all those places that were difficult to breathe in?
There is nothing broken here. You are not wrong to try and find a way through your difficult upbringing. But there’s room now, right- to breathe?
And when you do, you get to meet yourself again- the very core true essence of who you are- living and breathing and vibrating to the cosmos right now and always.
Your breath is always there welcoming you into being.
So breathe with me. Place your hand on your belly. Slow everything down…. Feel the stretch in the lungs as you inhale. The release of the air as you exhale.
What if you lived as if YOU were the ever-flowing fountain from which all love flows? All one. All breath. In peace.
“These are tools to find spaciousness. Don’t believe anything because I said it. Don’t believe anything because a great elder has said it. Don’t believe anything because you read it in a sacred text. Put it into practice and see for yourself what’s true.” Sharon Salzberg (meditation on the Buddha)