More sidewalk art, from overnight freeze, Lindon, Utah.

Occurrences like the above picture have a way of taking my breath away. It’s awe. It is delight in the naturalness of pattern. It is the quiet confidence of beauty that somehow awakens an inner beauty in the beholder. From a plain old sidewalk on a plain old day.

I’ve been learning a lot about breath the last two weeks. From two rather different perspectives.

One is that of being restricted in breath. I’m working with some bronchitis. It restricts and irritates the lungs. Argh. Coughing spasms. Restricted breath. Lots of fatigue. I’ve been learning about resting my body, the body. To try to rest reactions that come from challenged lungs of common cold grown to bronchial challenge. When you don’t have regular breath, you come to appreciate regular breath. Here’s to time doing its work. And rest. And a few homoeopathics. And western medicine. And inner psyche. I’m just ready to breath uninterrupted again! Sheesh.

The other perspective on breath is from this beauty of the photo. Oh, how delightful to be taken by beauty.

From an interview / circle that I was a part of yesterday, I proposed that people are rather hungry to reclaim the sacred in who they are. It sounds like a more foreign narrative. I don’t think it is as foreign as it seems at first glance because I see people remember it when it is spoken out loud. I see them touch their hearts involuntarily when given a chance to consider such deeper belonging.

I find that people in so many varied settings of team, organization, and community, want to be breath-taken. I’m glad that my work has centered in circle, which so often becomes a means to add breath and awe to human communities. I keep learning that the “breath” that people so often respond to in groups is not from another format to “win,” or “spar,” or “argue.” Rather, the breath in groups comes from touching for a moment into reclaiming shared relationship with inspired learning and connection. People feel the palpability of a connection, of a community, or of a team in more genuine discovery — and it brings breath.

I have a hunch that this reclaiming of connection is pattern that is most needed, and frankly, most interesting, and most beautiful.

Like I experience in the gift of the sidewalk overnight freeze.


Drop Into The Breath

I met Janice Rous 12 years ago. I was co-leading a workshop in Florida at which she was a participant. I was taking a break, sitting outside by myself near a pond, across from which was a beautiful white Heron. She asked if she could sit with me a bit, she also on break. Yes. Janice was easy to connect with.

In that moment, Janice, who would become a dear friend, offered an observation about stretching my shoulders. Mine were very tight and angled forward. “You are protecting your heart.” Wait, what?

Janice wasn’t forceful. She was just seeing what she could see, and offering that. For me she brought forward an emotional awareness expressed in the physical that I was not aware of.

Janice and I have stayed friends. She offers a unique kind of work and presence in the world (see her website, Body Dialogue). She is keen on naming how the body knows things that the mind can’t.

Janice recently created this three minute video above (with Katie Teague) that describes for her how breath brings us to our expansive and creative selves, in the midst of all that life is compiling and even imposing on most of us. Her message is an invitation to be with life. Janice is the one who taught me that though most of us humans feel we know how to breathe (and don’t really think about it), it turns out, that most of us don’t. Our breath is shallow, and often only from the neck up.

I love the simplicity in this. I love her vibrancy. I love the wisdom in this little film that starts with the breath.