I was on a long bike ride today. In pounding summer heat. Thinking about what I would teach tomorrow.
I'm teaching Sunday School this month - me, a heathen! It's the last of my series of four - interrupted by Alaska. I'm thinking it's going to be a small group, after all - it's a holiday weekend. My first week was my faith journey - I talked the whole hour. My second week focused on a book I bought for my entire class. Light is the new Black, by Rebecca Campbell. It's astonishingly positive, I skimmed and forgot it already, but it speaks to my new worldview. The third week was an open discussion about angels. It was sublime.
Breath is the center of everything. The center of yoga, meditation, and connecting with your soul. I had a panic attack about three years ago. Full of hyperventilation, carbon dioxide, constricting brain vessels, and ultimate tingling of the hands and unconsciousness. In a freaking parking lot of an apartment complex on Rodney Parham. A man saw my hazards, pulled over to make sure I was ok, and I locked the doors and screamed for him to go away. Saw him as a threat.
When I came around, the world seemed different. Kind of scary. I needed beta blockers more than ever before - more than lecturing a group of over 100 med students, more than being interviewed about the Swine Flu on TV. Slowly I came around to driving again, without a threat of a panic attack. It took time. Where, I wondered, was the foolhardy teenager that drove all over the South with a book on the wheel? Eyes darting from book to road. Pulling over when emotions overcame me. That girl was bottled up.
We breathe to live. When I do journey work, breathing is the main focus of Reiki. I imagine Mother Earth's energy - a soulful white light - entering through my bare feet and exiting my head to connect with the Divine. When I was in high school, I learned a breathing method that I taught to my kids at a young age. Breathe in, really belly breathe, and pretend it's a color. I use white for the in - to heal. When you breathe out, breathe an angry color - I use red. It works for physical ailments, which are really only a manifestation of an injured soul.
We just need our breath. It can sustain us. Slow us down. Our breath is enough.