Breathing Life

What was said to the rose that made it open was said to me
here in my chest.


Had a wonderful, intense, delicious Retreat last weekend!  One of the experiences that is very powerful and healing for people is the breathwork. So I thought it might be helpful to give you a little background.

There are many forms of breathwork: integrative breathwork by Jacquelyn Small, rebirthing-breathwork by Leonard Orr and Sondra Ray, holotropic breathwork by Dr Stanislav Grof, vivation by Jim Leonard and Phil Laut.

They each have many features in common, and share similarities to yogic practices such as pranayama.

When Charles and I were first experienced breathwork, introduced to it by a couple who had studied with Leonard Orr, the instructions we received were simple: Pull on the inhale, relax on the exhale, and connect every breath. They also told us to do the process until we were complete and “you’ll know when you’re complete.” Simple enough, right? I mean, we all breathe.

But after a single breathwork experience we knew that how we breathe has an extraordinary impact on our consciousness. We experience this in Kai Chi Do too – The movements and the music are great, but the combination of the breath and the movements brings you into a new, broader state of awareness.

Breathing is literally the way we interact with the world.  When we pull on the inhale, we’re pulling in Life.  When we exhale, we’re releasing the parts we don’t need.  We don’t need to force them away.  We just let them go.  We give and we receive.  Out and in, in and out.  Breathing is an energy exchange.

Some breathwork leaders believe in what’s called cellular memory – the idea that memory isn’t just stored in your brain, it’s stored in the entire body.  Cellular memories  include suppressed emotions held in our bodies, like armor.  The emotions we suppress tend to he the ones that cause us pain, so we walk around with our emotional pain in our bodies, a part of our identity.  We think they’re who we are.  But they’re just emotions, just memories of the past.  We don’t need to hold onto them.  We’ve just locked them up.  One way to let go of the pain of the past, held in our bodies, is through relaxed, connected breaths.  We let Life in with the breath.

When the emotions surface, you just keep breathing, and your body has the wisdom to just let them go.  Your body knows – if you just trust it and don’t let your thinking get in the way of your air.  That’s one of the things I love about breathwork – My nose does all the work and my job is just to get out of the way.

Of course you can’t control it.  You don’t get to choose what you want to breathe about.  As they taught Shanti in kindergarten, “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”  Sometimes breathwork brings up memories.  Sometimes it brings up feelings.  And sometimes it just brings a bright, spacious awareness.  We take what we get, and we trust that it’s what we need.  We sit as the witness to our own experience and keep breathing.  Until the breath brings us into a feeling of completion, a feeling of relief and resolution.  In my very first breathwork session, I forgave my mother.  And I didn’t even know I needed to.

What’s left when you let all the stuff go?  All the stuff that’s not in harmony with Life.  What’s left when you let all that go?

There’s a point, a delicious point in breathwork, when you’re not trying to do the breathing anymore –  It’s the point where you finally let Life breathe you.


Meditation Live Easter 2011

This Meditation was recorded Live during Kai Chi Do on Easter Sunday 2011, at Howard Park Beach.  The music, shared by these artists under a Creative Commons license is:
“Naked Child” by Brain Control on the album Principle of Love
“Insight (Prologue)” by J.S. Eppleson on the album Insight – A Theta Meditation
“At Rest” by Kevin MacLeod at

We’ve been taught that Jesus healed using the Spirit of Water, purifying and uplifting others by receiving their energy and transforming it.  The Spirit of Water isn’t physical water.  It’s the eternal Life energy that moves horizontally –  to be shared.

The Spirit of Water is the relationship we have with God through our relationship with one another.



Your glass isn’t half full or half empty

A few years ago, an engineer I was coaching told me, “The glass isn’t half full or half empty – It’s the wrong size container.”  I love it.

I’ve been getting some help the past few weeks from Ray Ortega, a web engineer.  We’re  preparing to make a few upgrades to the Kai Chi Do website.  The thing that has been so enjoyable about working with him is that engineer way of thinking.   I send him a long rambling list of questions and he gives me back a workflow.

“Do this.”

Not an explanation of why it works, which is something that 1) I don’t really need to know, 2) would only confuse me, and 3) would take me off track from what I really want – which is to fix the problem.

I think most of us could use a little more mental engineering.

“Do this” because it works.

Don’t come up with all the reasons why the glass is not full.  And all the reasons you can’t fill it.  And all the reasons why it’s never been full.  And how someone else’s glass is more full than yours.  How someone told you that you don’t deserve to have it full.  Or try to trace it back to who made this rotten glass.  Or even all the reasons that half full is good enough.  How this glass is all you’ve ever known and using it has become something of a habit.  Or why you are fortunate because there are so many thirsty people who don’t even have a glass.

Give up the judgment and analysis and just use the right size container.

Skip right past all the emotional charge.  Neutralize it.

Dissolve the avoidance and the procrastination and the internal debate.  Make a new container.

Think of your self-care as a workflow.

Ask yourself  “What works?”  (to take precious care of your mental, physical, social, emotional, financial, spiritual well-being).  Design the workflow.  And then follow it.

Don’t know what works?  Contact us!

Half full Half empty photo by William Burnett at


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The healing power of focus

“I’ll learn ya!” Brer Rabbit yelled.
He took a swing at the cute little Tar Baby and his paw got stuck in the tar.

“Lemme go or I’ll hit you again,”
shouted Brer Rabbit.
The Tar Baby, she said nothing.

“Fine! Be that way,” said Brer Rabbit, swinging at the Tar Baby with his free paw.
Now both his paws were stuck in the tar.

Brer Rabbit and the Tar-Baby,
retold by S.E. Schlosser


Few people understand that what you focus on becomes part of your experience.  And the more you focus on it, the bigger it gets.

Most people focus on the struggle – pushing away what they don’t want to try to get more of what they do want, focusing on problems in order to “resolve” them.  We see quite a lot of that in traditional approaches to recovery and healing.

It just doesn’t make sense to try to get rid of something by focusing your attention on it.  The more you engage your mind with the problem, the more you are stuck there – It’s like Tar-Baby.

Instead of trying to fix the “illness” – talking about it, examining it, unraveling it, regretting it, reliving it –  we encourage people to focus their time and energy on building a new kind of life – practicing a healthy lifestyle, healthy thinking, healthy relationships, finding a sense of purpose.  Build up those things and the symptoms fade.  They get replaced with health.

Is it work?  Absolutely.

But focusing on what you want is a more direct route because it puts the power of momentum on your side.

And it feels better!

Take a minute and ask yourself – for whatever problem you are facing – what focus will bring healing into your experience?

Photo by Michael Cardus at Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0


Evening Fire Meditation Saturday December 18th

Charles will be leading a healing Fire Meditation on December 18th.  Will you join us?

Fire is the third element in Kai Chi Do, and the fire that burns deep in the center of our beings has the potential of freeing us from physical and mental turmoil.

The Evening Fire Meditation is a mini-retreat, focused on identifying your personal anchors – the emotional and physical blocks that represent unresolved major life events – and beginning the process of reconciliation and release.

You know how powerful these events can be.  You supply the inner fire and Trail’s Nook will provide the bonfire!

Date:        Saturday, December 18, 2010
Time:        7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Place:        Odessa, FL
Fee:           $45
Contact us for information or to register.

It’s a great way to complete 2010 and find your creative power for the new year.