Life is filled with challenges. There are times when there is no help and no way out and it seems impossible to overcome the difficulties. We must each come to our own individual solution in our own way because each of us has his or her own path and unique journey through this world. Yet it would be nice if we were given a set of tools with which to manoeuvre the obstacles along the way. I once read that this life must be a test because if it were the real thing it would have come with instructions. The good news is that it does! We are born with the tools and the instructions are coded into our being. We just need to know where to look and a few simple lessons in the use and care of those tools. That is the main purpose of this book.
No matter what else happens, if you can breathe, you can do it!
The first of the tools with which we are equipped is the breath. We receive the breath of life when we are born, and when we die, we give it back. In between those moments, we use it to sustain ourselves on an unconscious and effortless level. The first change in the way we live is to bring AWARENESS into the process of living by consciously following the breath and what it really represents. The breath is the outward manifestation of the spirit and connects us to all living things.
We breathe in the oxygen that the plants made and we exhale the carbon dioxide with which the plants will make more oxygen for us. It is a symbiosis that connects and sustains all life on this planet. When we share space together in a room or on the street or anywhere on our paths together, we are sharing the most intimate of things – the breath of life. This is our physical connection and the one we most easily notice.
But we are more than just bodies. There is more to me than the solid part that you can see with your eyes. The eyes are imperfect instruments of perception, limited to a very narrow range of the spectrum of light. I am my thoughts and my emotions and my desires. I am the processes that go on at the cellular level, biochemical and electromagnetic. These are the components of the energy form of myself that you cannot see but can be sensed, like the feeling you get when someone stands too close behind you or when you know who is calling you on the phone.
When I was on death row I was kept in isolation from the other prisoners because I was the only woman sentenced to death in the United States at the time. So, for me, it was not “row” at all but solitary confinement, which also meant sensory deprivation. And it wasn’t 23 out of 24 hours a day; it was 24 hours a day except for twice a week when I was let out of my cell for a shower and a brief period of sunshine in a small fenced-in area next to the concrete block building, with a guard watching to see that I did not make contact by word or gesture with anyone passing by on the other side of the chain link and barbed wire fence that separated my area from the rest of the prison.
Every day is filled with transitions
I learned about the nature of transitions when I was released from prison. At first it was so completely joyous to feel free!
I realized that the nature of transition is the name in each case. Like the steps in grieving set out by Dr. Elizabeth Kulber-Ross, there is a pattern to it. And interestingly, the patterns are similar. But then, isn’t the loss of someone you love a transition too? We go through transitions all our lives. There are the big ones like birth and death and going in and out of relationships. And then there are the little ones that we experience every day without being aware that they represent transitions. it seems we need to be challenged sufficiently to bring our attention to these details of our lives. So, we who are able of body do not notice that getting up and sitting down are transitions. You are shifting your entire relationship to the earth and the sky, the two energy sources with which we orient our physical bodies in the Universe. We transition from doing the dishes to helping with homework to doing the shopping to being a friend to answering the phone to driving the car. And with each transition you have to change or shift your balance, relationship, alignment, focus. The tool for making transitions is the breath. You use it to gather yourself, clear your energy and bring it back to neutral, and then to redirect it to the parts of yourself that will be called upon in the new situation.
Most transitions only need a breath, and some need more. But you wouldn’t begrudge anyone the space of a breath. So why not give yourself that space in which to regroup and readjust?
So, before you stand up from your chair, place your feet firmly on the ground and feel your roots connecting you with the earth. Move to the edge of the chair so you can position your weight over your legs and place your hands on your knees, aligning the body, with the crown lifted and the tailbone tipped into the earth. Now, gather your energy with your breath and then PUSH the energy in two directions – down through the feet and up through the crown – bursting open from your center! As soon as you are on your feet, take another breath and send it up and down the spine, creating an awareness of the feet and tailbone as your base on the earth, while raising the heart and crown to receive energy from above. Now, you have transitioned from a seated position to a standing position with awareness using your energy and not leaving a part of yourself behind. In this way, you are fully present in the situation you are facing.
– Love, Sunny