Yes – you read that right. One week after teaching a yoga class at Elmwood Correctional Facility I hear “M” advise other women in the class to “Just f*&@%ing breathe!” There had been a frustrating situation going on in the jail. A change in snack offerings had caused the women to become upset and a lot of negative energy was coursing though the pod. “M” was the first to arrive in class- about 10 minutes late – and she reported the reason for the delay. The others were still discussing the snack situation; the situation was verging on lock down. “M” was able to leave the area and come to class, after hollering at the others:
“Just F*&@%ing BREATHE”.
What an honor – to have the most vital lesson of our weekly Y12SR (Yoga of Twelve Step Recovery) meetings be remembered and applied – at least by one of the women. The breath can offer you choices about your behavior. The breath can give you an option to act in dignity rather than impulsive anger. The breath can help you think things through.
The rest of them filed in not long thereafter and we talked. We talked about choices, dignity and breath. And we breathed together and we found peace.
The message was repeated to me later in the week, from a totally different source. Wednesday I was driving to Mariposa and I heard a man on the radio say “We all just have to stop and take a breath.” He was referring to the tar sands and pipelines and our rash decisions in regards to energy. He knew (like “M”, the woman in Elmwood) we needed to breathe, step back and think. Consider the options, the sky and the land – what we are all a part of; not just for the convenience of the present moment but forever. “Take a breath.”
“Sometimes it’s ok if the only thing [I do] today is breathe.” For real. If my conscious thought could stay on my breath it would be a rich thing indeed. I do have tasks and duties and I have “things” and this and that. Sometimes it is ok just to breathe and take it all in: IT being the ALL I do the tasks and things FOR – to be on this planet with love and appreciation. And that takes a moment. Take a moment and breathe. Now. In love and appreciation. Then – off into your perfect day.