Tag Archives: Just Breathe

JAMIE’S BLOG – YEAR 8 – DAY 131 :: peace be with you

9 May

Joy is teaching me this tonight:  may peace be with you.  

And… breathing. Just breathe.

More tomorrow…



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Day 242: “you can tie your body in knots but without the essence there will always be a piece missing.”

30 Aug

I spent the day (and most of the night) at the Martha’s Vineyard Yoga Festival. I volunteered to help out in exchange for participating. What a good deed, win-win, I thought.

It turned out to be a greater gift to me.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I read the class title for Saul David Raye‘s “Inner Alchemy:  Igniting the Fire of the Heart” — I just knew I had to be there so I signed up.  Especially with this being my year to lovemore+fearless.

The class promised to “focus on strengthening and activating the spiritual HEART and doing inner transformation through the 7 levels of energy within.”

And, focus on the heart we did. Tonight, I can honestly say I am moved, stretched and mentally drained, and energetically lightened in a very rejuvenating way.

I also participated in my first Kirtan or “chant.”

I left with these thoughts swirling through my head: 

1) We are ever-evolving and never “done” (isn’t that reassuring!)

2) Enlightenment is not a state to aspire to — it is not separate from our current being or something we attain to turn into — it is a state of being who we already are.

3) “Essence” is more important than the pose.

As Saul David Raye said:

“You can tie your body in knots but without the essence there will always be a piece missing.”

How true that is.

It made me think back to my very first hot yoga class — where I strained and stretched in order to “hit” all the right poses, while cranking my neck, looking up at the instructor and around at everyone else in the class to figure out what knot to tie my body into next.

The foreign names of poses meant nothing to me. Garudasana? Balasana? Shavasina?  What the hell were they saying?

Then the instructor announced that we “Type A” people need to stop comparing ourselves in yoga class and stick to our own mat, go at our own pace, and stop competing.

“She’s talking to me.” I thought as I strained my head to see if she was looking directly at me. I had never been told to stop competing before. I am a trained athlete. Competing is what I do!

But that whole new world of yoga exposed my inner athlete and all her self-conscious pursuits.

And, now, four years later, I am still trying to figure out what the instructor is saying. What pose comes next. Where to put my head and hands.

The difference is, today, I found myself dropping into Child’s Pose whenever I felt called. Taking a break whenever I needed it. I stayed flat on my mat in Shavasina as long as I wanted.

The competition was gone. Just breath, in and out, remained. 

And, really, it’s the breath that matters most.

As Saul David Raye explained today, our breath determines the length of our life. The deeper and more we breathe, the longer we live.

And that may be the essence of it all. 
No matter what, just breathe.

Day 363: the wrap up part 3 :: body

29 Dec

Here we are, closing in on 365 days and the end of this year.  And, what a year it has been.

So much has changed in my world, in this year, that I am dedicating a full day to each of my promises: head, heart, body and soul.

Because if I have learned anything this year, it is this: the magic is in reflection.

Part 3:  body

What does it mean to take care of the body?

As my new friend Belleruth Naparstek reminds me in one of her amazing guided meditations, our body is our “oldest friend” and “steadiest companion.”

And I like that.
Because I never thought of my body in a confidant sort of way.  At least not until this promise.

To the contrary, I spent too many years scrutinizing the shape of my hips, the size of my toes, the stubby-ness of my thumbs, the arc of my belly.  After my cancer treatments I wished for my long thick locks to return, just like after I turned thirty I wished for my dimply cheeks to return to their twenty-something smoothness.

But this is a journey isn’t it, with the body in the lead.

Through the ups and downs of life’s heavy weights and other losses it seems my body has been with me all along.  Right there alongside me, every step of the way.

And it wasn’t until this promise came along that I started to give my body its due.  Seems almost silly to me now that I failed to invest in it.

It has indeed been a year of self-care.

Some of my adventures in self-care brought my body through totally new experiences, like bodywork, chakra massage, an Avyvedic cleanse and meditation.

Others have just reminded me how great it feels to give nourishment to the skin I’m in, like hot rock massages and pedicures.

More than anything I have relied on my night-time bath. 

A nocturnal ritual that lifts my spirits and comforts my body no matter what the rest of the world may be contemplating.  We may be at war, or in economic crisis or fiercely debating the next election — but it just doesn’t matter when I am in my bathwater.

One of the best pieces of advice I heard over this year-long promise to take care of my body was quite simply ironic — do nothing.

That’s right.  DO. NOTHING.

It comes from traditional Chinese medicine and I have come to hear those words echo through my mind when cerebral buttons begin to be pushed and that other voice in my head starts telling my body to do more, be more, try more.

It’s almost too easy isn’t it?

Do nothing.
Of course, it doesn’t mean eat bonbons and down six packs while watching television with Ben and Jerry.

It means, literally stop and do nothing but let your body breathe.

Sure, the massage and yoga and Pilates and hiking have all been invigorating, adventurous and new.  But, all these exercises ended up bringing me back to a place of peace that opened up a space where I could do something extraordinary with my body — breathe.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: it’s ironic after all the searching, and the classes and the adventures that I am right back in the place where my body first started.

Taking one deep breath.
And then another.

Day 282: the answer is simple …just breathe

9 Oct

“A doctor once told me that a person can’t breathe deeply and worry at the same time — it’s biologically impossible. A deep breath interrupts and dissipates worry waves.”

I highlighted this sentence on my iPad last night while reading: The Answer is Simple…Love Yourself, Live Your Spirit! by Sonia Choquette. (Thank you for the book recommendation Carrie Saba!)

It couldn’t have come at a better time.
With a mountain of plastic tubs packed and ready to go we had a little glitch in plans for our great migration south.  Justin called me on the way home to let me know his car was acting up, and not drivable until further notice.

This was not in the script.  And, definitely not on the packing list.  I, for one, am not prepared to star in the Cape Cod version of Gilligan’s Island.

We are, of course, not “stranded” on an island, but we will have an unexpected delay until the GMC gets a little TLC from an auto-mechanic.  As Justin broke the news to me last night he reassured me that all would be okay in his deep and soothing voice, “We will figure it out.”

Despite his calm inflection, my track star mind started to race — what will we do, how much will it cost, what is wrong with it, where do we take it?

And, then I read that passage.

“A doctor once told me that a person can’t breathe deeply and worry at the same time — it’s biologically impossible. A deep breath interrupts and dissipates worry waves.”

So, I took deep breaths.
And, amazingly enough, it worked.  My heart rate slowed, my body relaxed, and my mind reassured — We will figure it out.

So tonight, while we may still be working ourselves out of a jam, I leave you with this from Pearl Jam, a song ironically titled: Just Breathe.

I’ll be over here breathing too.
Deep. Soothing. Breaths.

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