The Importance of Breath {Shamanic Journey}

What's wrong with you, Sensitive one?
Why are you feeling everything?
Why have your headaches increased?
Why are your pressure points raging?
Why does your heart feel heavy?
Your shoulders weak?
Why is your belly upset?
Throat sore?
And why, oh why, are you so damn tired?

I have been suffering from everything written above. Unable to find a cause or remedy, I went into shamanic journey to seek help and stop the breach in my energetic system. 

Standing in a nest of etheric haze, my spirit teacher was waiting for me. She stood over a large pot and stirred its contents with a ladle made from the branch of a white birch tree. Her hair was parted in the middle and two, long braids that kissed the sides of her cheeks. Her eyes sparkled with luminosity, clarity, and joy; a visionary hallmark of a Spiritual Master.

I sat before her cauldron resting the weight of my body upon my knees and said, "Abuela, I have been feeling so awful. Posts aren't getting written and my artwork isn't getting made. I have so many ideas that are desperate for manifestation, yet I can do nothing more than just lay down in exhaustion. I try to connect, I try to offer and participate in the ways that I know but I can barely make it one step outside of my home. I feel so weighted. What am I not seeing? What am I doing wrong?"

She took her birchen spoon and slowly began to turn the dregs of the brew to the water's surface. I took a peek inside and spotted a wooden carving floating to the top. I am surprised to see a figure crafted in my likeness with a hole bored through my middle. She pulled the figure from the pot and blew through its missing center. There, a small seedling began to sprout. Handing the carving to me she said, 

"Where is your center, child?
Where can you find calm in these moments of upset and duress?
Know this place and come to it often. 
Remove yourself from the sensationalist news erupting. Untether yourself from the cords that twist your heart into your stomach and allow yourself to reconnect with the profound power of breath.

Breathe openly.
Breathe deeply. 
Breathe fully.
It is upon this breath healing can happen and you shall come to know me."


If you have been feeling as I have: uncertain, foggy and weighed by the world, I extend this question to you—where is your center? Do you have a safe place in your heart to go? Are you retreating when you're feeling tired, making time for self-care? Are you taking appropriate actions to disconnect from the people, places, and things that may keep you feeling angry or ill? More importantly, are you breathing? Not the tight, chest-restrictive breathing that we use to survive but breathing through your belly, your Dantian or energy center. Are you breathing to facilitate your life, or just breathing to live?

When we learn to breathe in a less constricted way, our body and brain receive more oxygen. More oxygen means healthier cells. Healthier cells lead to healthier organs and greater systematic efficiency. The power of our breath can help us to relax. We can use breathwork to regain control during panic attacks and in moments of high anxiety, and it can help us to rise out of the perpetually cyclonic "thinking state" so many of us live in.

Through our breath, we come to know Spirit. We can use it to enter our "receptive mode" which means we get out of our headspace and into our hearts where we connect to Spirit authentically. When our connection to ourselves and Spirit is healthy, we feel aligned in our purpose and path. We can live with both compassion and resolve and are less affected by the pressure from outside opinion. We spend less time fraught with uncertainty and in misdirection. Instead, we find empowerment, intuition, and knowing. 

May we take the time to learn how to intake and expel our breath in ways that are healthy and beneficial and give proper attention to this great power of ebb and flow. In this precious space of both groundedness and higher connection, this sweet spot of Spirit, may we all learn to seek and nurture our centers.