Whenever I am with my adorable nephew, and he melts into a huge, sobbing puddle, I scoop him up on my lap, and together we take some full, deep, 4-year old-sized breaths. Just a few breaths, and he abandons my lap, grabs his favorite Ninja sword and begins to run around the house, happily swinging the sword and battling the Ninja’s enemies. He is off to his next adventure.
Breath. It is the simplest thing we can do to bring us into the present. It is our most intimate connection to life.
It is also the instruction I give most often, to clients and students, as our breath shows us how we got stuck in our past.
With my hands deep in her diaphragm, her careful, self-control tries to contract right back down the intense wave of fear that is pushing upward.
With my palm on his chest, as he repeats, “I don’t feel anything,” he struggles to poise himself well above the sob.
With my hands around her ribs, her tiny, shy face contorts to stop the wild giggle that doesn’t want to be silent anymore.
And then they breathed.
And the fear coursed through her like a rush of electric energy all the way down to her toes.
And the deeply buried sadness spread warmth throughout his chest and beyond.
And the long suppressed giggle went wild, until happiness pulsed from every cell.
Breath. There are so many reasons we minimized or held it when we were young. The fear may indeed have been more than we could handle. The sadness may have had no arms to hold it. The joy may have had no permission to burst free.
But today, the simple act of breathing can transform our old memories into powerful and physical flows of energy that shift our perspective, strengthen our bodies and move us completely into reality.
There are yogic texts that suggest we are born with a finite, unchangeable number of breaths. I have no way of knowing whether or not this is true, but either way, why not breathe with abandon? Why not let go of your diaphragm, open your ribs and breathe fully and freely into your lungs, come what may?
Why not join this unpredictable ride we are on with as much energy and vibrancy as possible, as you walk, run or jump on to your next adventure?