I wear 2 hats.
As a drama teacher/coach and a mind-body therapist, I immediately know if someone is breathing in a good way.
I see it, I hear it. I know.
I notice every tiny gasp, every shortness of air.
I have a pretty good idea of how people are feeling just by listening to how they breathe.
The way you breathe is the way you live. -
I know this because I experienced it intimately.
For over 20 years I suffered from debilitating asthma attacks.
In my 30s I had an attack that nearly cost me my life.
That morning I woke to the cries of my 6 month-old baby girl.
I tried to get out of bed but couldn’t because I was gripped by the worst attack of my life.
I could barely breathe.
I could barely move.
I couldn’t talk.
I had my inhaler and cortisone tablets by my bed but nothing helped.
I tried to stay focused but it’s hard when you feel your life force is being sucked out of you.
I managed to grab my phone -thank goodness for cordless phones -and called my husband at work.
He recognised our number on the screen and when he understood I couldn’t talk, he called for an ambulance and contacted the janitor of our building to take care of our baby.
Before I knew it, I was rushed off to hospital and stayed in intensive care for 3 days.
3 days of struggling for my next breath.
Of massive doses of cortisone being injected into my body.
Of feeling my heart race: 200 + bpm.
Hearing the ever-beeping-monitors checking my vital signs.
3 long days and nights of feeling both “here” and “there”.
It was touch and go.
I kept thinking of my beautiful baby’s smile, her giggles and her way of singing.
My Anna, my grace.
The thought of her brought me back to life.
After 12 days in hospital, I was allowed to go back home.
The doctors all said I was lucky to be alive.
As a drama teacher, I was teaching my students about breathing but I was suffering from my poor quality breathing in my personal life.
I felt like a fraud; I felt a sense of shame.
My asthma was calling me, in a big way, to take urgent care of myself.
Unfortunately, I didn’t listen right away.
The message escaped me.
Instead, I revelled in the attention I got as an “asthma sufferer”.
People were kind...for a while.
It wasn’t until several years later, when my whole life was stifling me, that I took action and healed myself.
I started to meditate and became curious about my breath.
I didn’t try to change it; I just observed it.
Soon I noticed a significant difference in my capacity to breathe at the beginning and the end of the meditation .
I felt encouraged and my breath and I became friends.
We became BFF.
We had each other.
We mirrored each other.
If I was feeling emotional, he’d get a little tight.
If I felt joyful, he’d be expansive.
Don’t ask me why my breath is masculine. I don’t know. LOL
I also became fascinated by the space between the in-breath and the out-breath.
How did my body know when to take the next breath?
I noticed that I trusted that it knew.
That the next breath would come.
I was alright.
I discovered that breathing and trust worked together, in harmony- if I let them.
Every morning for 20 min, I did my “breath meditation’ and my constant worrying dissipated.
I release the chains of constant strife just by breathing.
Yes, just by breathing.
By becoming conscious of my breathing.
Breathing began to feel really good.
It became a source of pleasure.
I started to re-inhabit my body.
To trust my intuition.
I felt a deep sense of connection to everyone and to the natural the world :animals and plants.
I heightened my sense of proprioception: the sense of my body moving through space.
I became fascinated by the space between 2 thoughts just like I was by the space between the inner and outer breath.
I discovered a sense of inner space that gradually felt as vast as the ocean.
If ever fear or anxiety showed up, I would sit with them.
Feel the discomfort but always trust that my next breath would come and with it, my freedom.
My inner freedom became my outer freedom.
My life changed as I listened to my inner guidance.
I undid 30 years of worrying.
The whole transformative process took a few years.
I have not had any asthma symptoms in the last 10 years.
I don’t even have an inhaler anymore. (This is NOT my doctor’s recommendation and I am not giving you medical advice, just relating my own story)
I no longer talk about myself as an “asthma sufferer”.
I breathe freely, fully, just like I live. Deeply, fully.
I love to breathe!
I love life and life loves me.
For me, breathing is an elixir of life.
A happy and creative life.
In September 2014, I woke up with what can only be called “an inspiration”.
The breath of the Divine whispered to me.
“Walk a Camino, become a sophrologist”(mind-body practitioner).
I followed my inspiration.
It led me to a path of LOVE.
Self love. Energy. Audacity.
Letting go and living large.
I see, I feel the aliveness in people and places.
I feel blown away by the beauty around me.
Sometimes the feeling is so strong that I feel my heart is going to explode.
I am now preparing my new Camino.
My 4th Camino.
3 months of walking from Le Puy en Velay (France) to Lisbon.
I can’t wait.
I feel so very grateful to be alive and well.