Just F*&%ing Breathe.
Yes – you read that right. Just F*&%ing Breathe.
I used to teach a weekly yoga class at Elmwood, a correction facility in my area. I now go there monthly but this was during the time I could be there weekly.
One Saturday we were more than a little delayed in getting started. I was getting concerned – we have just a short hour to meet before lunch. “M” was the first to arrive in class – about 10 minutes late – and she reported the reason for the delay.
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 through the unit. The others were still volubly discussing the snack situation, tempers were flaring; the situation was verging on lockdown. “M” was able to leave the area and come to class, turning back and hollering to 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. Even with the expletive, or perhaps even more powerfully because of it.
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. It can let you walk away from a bad situation and avoid lockdown. It can help you accept situations as they are.
The rest of the women 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. I was driving to Mariposa, a local residential treatment center, 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.