Space to breathe
This summer I felt like I had limitless energy. Fizzing with inspiration and excitement in so many areas of my life, my days and evenings were filled with dance, work, workshops, ceremonies, projects, meetings, retreats, socialising and studying. I was enjoying the challenge and the thrill of having so many plates to spin, enjoying the pace of life that seemed to be affirming to me that ‘yes, your life is full and exciting!’ This activity culminated in a beautiful cacao and intuitive dance ceremony that I hosted at Reva Yoga on the New Moon Solar Eclipse and I set my intentions in the ceremony with every intention of continuing to ride this wave of energy into the Autumn. But as the season began to change and we moved from the dynamic fires of Leo to the earthy soil of Virgo, I began to notice my energy waning and my body beginning throwing up signs of imbalance. One August day when I was working from home, trying to also work on my website, plan a day retreat and help my dad out with his crowdfunding campaign all at the same time I suddenly got this overwhelming urge to drop everything instantly. The feeling was so palpable I felt like to ignore it would be to end up in tears at my computer. Grabbing my jacket and heading for the door, I followed my feeling and let my feet carry me to the beautiful park near my parents house that overlooks the whole of London. As I stepped into the open space, I instantly felt my breathing slow and my body relax. Heading for my favourite tree, I kicked off my shoes and flopped down onto my back under the branches. Grounding. Recharging. I took a deep breath and began to notice the speed of the clouds rolling lazily overhead. The way the dappled shadows of leaves danced in the breeze. The heaviness of my eyelids and the way my muscles began to let go, grateful to not have to carry my weight anymore. I took another deep breath and felt my lungs gently push into the Earth and it was as if the Earth gently pushed back reminding me that She is always there. To hold, to support, to nourish.
Lying there in the park for a while with nothing in my pockets and nothing on my mind, I remembered what I had forgotten. That a full life does not mean a life without space to breathe. Without space to simply exist as a human ‘being’, not a human ‘doing’. Without the moments of stillness and quiet that invite us to listen closely to the subtle (or not so subtle!) messages of the body, reminding us what we need right here and right now. The heart and mind can play and dance and soar on the wings of the future but the body can only exist in the present moment. It is our anchor to the Now. Taking any amount of time - whether it’s a breath, an hour or a day - to tune into the body brings us gently back into presence and from this place of presence we often uncover truths that we’d been too busy to notice.
“I need to slow down."
“That really hurt my feelings.”
“I don’t really want to do that anymore."
For me, that Truth was a realisation that I was doing far too much and was not giving my body the rest and nourishment it needed to keep up. I stayed in the park for the rest of the afternoon, clearing my schedule and rearranging my plans and by the time I walked back to my parents house I felt lighter, freer and revitalised. I set an intention to put my body first for a while and let my energy levels dictate my plans, rather than forging ahead at full steam and expecting my body to take my where my mind wanted me to go!
The breath is a beautiful portal back into the body. It is accessible anytime and anywhere and offers us a way to gently find our way to the Truth on the wave of an inhale and an exhale. Next time you are feeling overwhelmed and suddenly the pace of your life seems to overtaking you - I invite you to come back to your breath. Plant your feet (or lie down on your back if circumstances allow) on the ground and take a deep breath in. Notice how it your chest expands as oxygen fills your lungs, how the air feels as it streams into your nostrils. Take a moment to appreciate this enriching, completely free resource that sustains us and connects us all - to each other and to the planet. Allow your exhale to be long and slow, noticing that even if just for a moment we can slow down our experience simply with our breathing. That, even if just for a moment, we can make some space for ourselves to come back to ourselves. Back to the body. Back to the authenticity of the moment. To ground, recenter and regroup so that we can return to the dance of modern living with the truths that we may have received from the space and from the silence.