I’ve heard it said that when you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace. That seemed true for Vernon for a at least a little while yesterday when our lovely friend Jane dropped by and gave him some breathing lessons.
She has come by to work with him before, but this was the first time I was there to witness it. She had him inhale and try to raise his shoulders at the same time. He followed direction well, but what possibly felt like a raised shoulder to him looked like a tiny (yet notable) movement to us. To him, it may have been like patting his head and rubbing his tummy simultaneously: harder than it sounds.
Jane said that everything follows the breath. If you can control your breath and be connected to it, it can help detox your body a little at a time. AND it is the one thing that Vernon has control of. Coming from a performance background, I have long appreciated the physical and emotional connection with breath, and even with my loyalty to Pilates as exercise, I take time for deep breathing regularly. I understand the importance of the quietness of meditative breath (not that I do it enough…) But even with all that, I never considered it as necessary for internal organ-stimulation until I sat there and did these simple exercises next to Vernon, who was working hard to inhale through his nose and exhale through his mouth. In fact, I never gave much thought to the organs— but now the kidneys, stomach, and our biggie, the BRAIN, are on my radar…purposeful breathing makes sense.
Seeing him following and through it all, relaxing…in those moments, there was a little bit of heaven.
The things we take for granted, right? The simplest thing is sometimes the most important…at least, the most connecting.
Vernon seemed more at peace in those moments than I had seen him. Without a sedative, I mean. I was so pleased to see how well to took her direction. But that has always been Vernon. He was always a peace-seeking guy, he likes quietness and calm.
And this was something he could do. He could breathe. He could think about breathing.
Like Jane said, the one thing you can control is how you breathe. Take time to do it right. It’s empowering.
And if you can go one step beyond, and wiggle your toes, count yourself among the blessed.
“That breath you just took…its a gift.” Rob Bell