Breathing and Balance

9 Jan

This weekend I went on a grand adventure to Colorado. (which is why my previous post is about my bear in the airport)

We were at a lovely camp at the base of Horn peak in the Sangre de Cristo range. I was there to provide logistical support for the Uniteen and YOU events.

The tricky thing about this grand and glorious view is that it’s about 8000 feet above sea level. I spend most of my time around 1000 feet above sea level. There is a lot less oxygen up there in the mountains, and I could feel it.

There has also been warm weather (for CO)  and the snow had melted and re-froze, so there was plenty of ice-slicks. In my first 6 hours at the camp I fell seriously twice and not so severely a couple more times. (yes, my body still hurts, and I’ll survive)

The theme for the weekend quickly became breathing and balance. While this has an obvious  physical element, it was about so much more than that.

When I arrived at the camp, I certainly needed some time to get acclimated to ice walking, but I wasn’t feeling very balanced in general. That night as I lay in bed feeling the aches I had accumulated, I affirmed my balance and released anything that was pulling me away from balance. I visualized myself walking carefully and safely and released any fear related to getting hurt. In short, I invoked a state of mindfulness.

Anyone who has seen me at an event I’m running knows I move at a rapid pace. This time though, I found myself breathing heavily after just going up one flight of stairs and down a long hall. I am not used to functioning at a slower pace and even knowing it was the altitude and there was nothing ‘wrong’ with me, I found myself bumping against my own expectations. Physically, I adjusted by bringing myself into the practice of mindfully deep breathing when going up stairs or hills. Mentally I reminded myself that everything would be done that needed to be done and that it was OK to be slower than I expect. When it’s just me, I don’t mind so much, but I don’t want to let anyone down with something as important to me as these teen events. Not that anyone was wanting me to be faster than was physically wise except me. Which meant it was time for a mental breath.

A few months ago I was helping out with the same event in the Plains community and I led the group in an intention ceremony where everyone wrote on an acorn the thing to remember from the event.

I chose the word breathe. The week before my awesome teens had facilitated the Sunday service at church and I had been the soloist. One of the songs had been pretty fast and I had to be mindful about breath support to make it through. When coaching one of my teens in reading the meditation for the service I told her to simply take a breath at each period and more than one breath between the paragraphs. It was a beautifully paced meditation… why? Because of the breath.

This weekend we did the intention ceremony again (not with acorns this time, the only natural thing we could have collected would have been snow, and that doesn’t pack well). As I breathed into the ceremony there was no question to me that once again my word would be breathe.

While I am not a fan of this experience of thin air, I am grateful for the reminder of such basic mindfulness. When I mindfully breathe I am automatically coming back to balance, physically, spiritually, and emotionally, enabling me to respond more effectively to whatever situation is before me.

Breathe well my friends



One Response to “Breathing and Balance”


  1. Verbal vomit « preacherchick - January 20, 2012

    […] My life, is a crazy mis-mash of stuff… kinda like everyone else’s. Sometimes it feels like most of the elements are humming along as they should. Other times it feels like an epic storm keeps shaking up each item you nail down. In the last few weeks there has been a significant amount of storming, at least 5 bigger items bringing up ‘stuff’ that settles and rises, giving great opportunities to practice breathing and balance as I said in last week’s blog. […]

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