The Two Breaths – Foundation of Being

“This reflection comes from a conversation with a gifted photographer I met. His story helped confirm for me that we live a life in every breath. In truth, each heart-breath is an atom of life-force being born one more time. We as human beings have the incredible burden of sensitivity, but the incomparable reward of being awakened over and over again.

At a gathering in San Francisco, I met Marco, a careful and patient photographer from Santa Clara. When asked what surprised him during the last year, his voice began to quiver. He’d witnessed two breaths that had changed his life. His daughter’s first breath. Then his mother’s last breath. As his daughter inhaled the world, it seemed to awaken her soul on Earth. As his mother exhaled her years, it seemed to free her soul of the world. These two breaths jarred Marco to live more openly and honestly. He took these two breaths into his own daily breathing and quickly saw their common presence in everyone’s breathing. Is it possible that with each inhalation, we take in the world and awaken our soul? And with each exhalation, do we free ourselves of the world, which inevitably entangles us? Is this how we fill up and empty a hundred times a day, always seeking the gift of the two breaths? Perhaps this is the work of being.”

—excerpt from Seven Thousand Ways to Listen by Mark Nepo





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Life Is Breathing

Once you can accept the universe as being something expanding into an infinite nothing which is something, wearing stripes with plaid is easy.” ~ Albert Einstein

In a time when we are becoming more and more conscious that everything is connected we are moved ever closer towards the reality of an ever expanding universe.   This is humbling and at the same time wondrous!

One single exhale can extend out into the spaciousness of all that is around you.  The next inhale can allow that vast amount of space to enter into your body and awareness creating a sacred place to rest in and be nourished from.

There is nothing to do….just sensing and opening.  What a miracle the breath is…reminding us that we are ALIVE as well as sensing sacred beings.  Let us not forget this.

Let us LIVE this…


All around us everything is breathing
Listen carefully 
for you may miss the soft exhale 
of the flower on the vine.

Or the inhale of rich brown soil
 from the earthworm beneath your foot.
Butterfly wings waft the air
 towards you as an offering

While bird songs are heard 
in a series of exhales

As the tree that shelters 
releases a leaf to the ground
Chimes move in the breeze
 creating the sound of the breath 
in notes sung in tune

with the expansion and contraction
 of the Earth – all in union with
 your next inhale….. and exhale

Be present to life breathing around you

mindful of the artful ways that
 breath pulses among the 
minutest of cells and atoms

woven amidst the field of being 
that captures each one of us within the next inhale

All breathing for and with each other

An exchange of intimacy that 
connects us in levels so deep
 that even the whale in the ocean depths
 senses into the next breath

that you will take.

Be still for just a moment

and listen 
to the symphony of breath 
that fills every moment
 with the exquisite pleasure

of being Alive Now. 

Life is breathing.

~Gaye Abbott  11/11/2011

(Excepted from Give Us This Day Our Daily Breath, pg 94)



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The Feminine Breath


This past week I have watched 2 movies that have moved me greatly and have served as a reminder of what I have often left carefully hidden away from the world – the very roots of my being.  This post is entitled “The Feminine Breath” as it is a way of breathing for all of us that has been lost, decimated, and yes hidden from our awareness for way too long.  A resurgence is riding on the back of our planet that is daily reminding us of the havoc and imbalance we have created.

Jane’s Journey is about the astounding life and actions of Jane Goodall transitioning from a young girl with no college degree boldly following her childhood dreams into an internationally recognized woman living her passion and truth through daily actions and deep dedication to bring peace, compassion, and ecological health to all life.

The film Desert Flower, is a National Geographic stunningly filmed movie about Waris Dirie from Somalia who faces life challenges that are way beyond what any of us could imagine.  Yet she chooses to step into her strength and truth exposing a mutilation practice that, due to her efforts, is finally being eradicated.

Both women demonstrate what it is to bring back the feminine way of breathing and to embody that breath in each moment of life.

Clare Daikin of Tree Sisters says:

When we say ‘feminine’ most people think, Woman, but Feminine is one side of the whole that is all of us. We all have the receptive and expressive sides, the passive and active, the intuitive and logical, the flow and the structure. The feminine is like the in breath or the roots where we connect, receive and resource. She is the source of our deeper knowing and the deep lake of our pleasure. The masculine is like the out breath or the branches, where we make manifest, build, create, grow and structure. He is informed by the feminine and takes action to serve the whole system into optimal form to function effectively. He is replenished by her, so is served by her as he also serves her.
For more of this excellent blog post click here:
It is this very “feminine breath” way of being that is crucial to our vital health – that of self, relationships, community, countries….and the planet which sustains our life.  Without connecting, receiving and resourcing from our roots we cannot manifest, build, create and grow new ways of being that live in harmony with the earth.
We are the new life form on the block!  Let’s deeply learn from that which not only has come before us but is our greatest teacher.
Find your favorite tree this week, sit down beneath it, listen, and receive the wisdom as you breathe from the roots of your being…
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Obstacles to Simply Breathing

Just fresh out of my favorite Sunday morning yoga class the peace, stillness and resonance of life energy are still palpable.  During this last month it has been my “job” to release as much of the contraction and holding as possible that has built up over the last 4 years while employed in a job that was not in alignment with my heart and soul.

It continues to amaze me how much tension and holding that is perpetually present in our bodies.   These are patterns built up over time.  So….do you have an elephant sitting on your chest?  Or perhaps a boa constrictor wrapping itself around your belly?  No probably not, but then it may feel like that when actually putting attention on the quality of your breath, the tension in your body, or whether you are even breathing at all!

What are the barriers or obstacles to a full natural breath?  This post would be much too lengthy if all were listed and discussed, so let’s just get down to the core of things.  There is an all too pervasive implant within us that wasn’t there when we first entered into the air breathing world.

That belief system is “I am essentially flawed”.  From that place comes a leaving behind of the awareness and practice of our wholeness, and at the same time a journey of struggle towards striving to be “perfect”. In yoga this is called dukha which means misery, unhappiness, and pain.

“Ring the bells, it still can ring.  Forget your perfect offering.  There is a crack in everything.  That is how the light gets in.”  -Leonard Cohen

As we travel further away from our essential heart based nature and senses we enter the world of dukha.  From this place comes a holding in areas of our physical body all fueled by fear and the false belief that we are not good enough exactly the way we are.

The Hindu religion has an elephant headed God called Ganesha who represents the remover of obstacles. What I learned recently is that Ganesha always has one of his tusks slightly broken off.

When in Bali, Indonesia several years ago I bought an amazing carving of Ganesha and when I received him via shipping from Bali I noticed that he had a tusk broken.  At the time I thought it was mishandling in the packing and shipping process….and now 5 years later I realize that this is the representation of the perfect imperfection that we all are and a reminder to look beyond form.

“Acceptance of the somewhat funny looking elephant-headed man as the divine force stills the rational mind and its doubts, forcing one to look beyond outer appearances. Thus Ganesha creates the faith to remove all obstacles, forcing one to look beyond form, removing doubts and pointing out the spiritual side of everything.”

Coming full circle this post is now an invitation to come back to the senses and out of the mind.  To move towards flourishing and away from the pain of dukha.  Our planet is going through a tremendous shift right now and the quality of feeling “at home” inside of ourselves is essential to let go of the holding onto of old deeply engrained patterns that keep us – and everyone else – stuck. Humanity yields to the wisdom of nature, the heart, and the senses – and the breath deepens.

I will end with an observation from my brother who called me today.  He was incredulous that he was the only one riding the waves out in the ocean on a summer weekend in San Diego.  He just couldn’t understand how people there seemed to have forgotten the simple pleasure of getting in the ocean and being with the powerful, wonderfully wild and fluid water – letting go into the sensuality of simply being.

Simply being removes the obstacles to simply breathing.  Enhance your breath.  Enhance your life.  Simply be.






Quiet Time – Living At The Center Of Our Lives

This past week I received my Daily Om which is often just what I need to reflect on for the day.  Living life in these times can be challenging, as it feels we are in the midst of one of the most powerful shifts on all levels that has ever been experienced.  It is an honor to be alive at this time….and it is also a time in which we can be pulled out of our center and off of the path that we have chosen by the daily stimulus that comes at us from every side.

To “be quiet” within ourselves, at least for some moments every day, is a practice which sustains our authentic being and fuels the manifestation of our dreams.  Emptying out by just being and breathing can be the juice that brings us back home to the heart and soul of our being….and melts the self imposed barriers to being present for this life that we have been given.

Gratitude to DailyOm for the reminder below:

May 11, 2011
Hovering around the Sun
Avoiding the Center

Quiet time each day is so important, but many are so out of practice that it’s almost unnerving to be in stillness.

“It’s funny to imagine our lives as something we spend a lot of time avoiding, because it seems like that would be impossible to do. Our lives consist of everything we engage in, from showering to sleeping, but also a lot of busy work that distracts us and keeps us from looking at our lives. Experiencing our life from the inside means taking time each day to simply be alone and quiet in the presence of our soul. Many of us are so out of practice that it’s almost unnerving to have a moment to ourselves. As a result, we may have stopped trying to carve out that time to take a seat at the center of our lives.

One of the reasons it can be uncomfortable to sit with ourselves is because when we do, we tend to open ourselves to an inner voice, which might question the way we’re living or some of the choices we’re making. Sometimes the voice reminds us of our secret, inner yearnings, dreams we thought we had forgotten. When we already feel overwhelmed by our busy schedules, the idea of hearing this voice can be exhausting. However, its reflections are the chords that connect us to our authentic selves, and they are the very things that make our lives worth living. When we continually avoid connecting with our life, we risk losing out on the very purpose of our existence.

To begin the process of being more present and less absent in your life, you might want to set aside just a few minutes each day to simply sit with yourself. This doesn’t mean watching a movie or reading a book, but taking time each day for self-examination to avoid the avoidance, to be with yourself in an open way. After a while, you may start to enjoy this part of the day so much that you make less busy work for yourself, so that you can spend more time at the center of your own life, rather than hovering like a planet around the sun.”