Breathe by Anna Nalick
“2 AM and she calls me ’cause I’m still awake,
“Can you help me unravel my latest mistake?,
I don’t love him. Winter just wasn’t my season”
Yeah we walk through the doors, so accusing their eyes
Like they have any right at all to criticize,
Hypocrites. You’re all here for the very same reason.”
After a major transition in my life, and I’ve noticed in my mid-forties there are a few of these transitions in life, I decided, on a whim, to get on a plane and go to Australia. Because it was an impulse decision, none of my friends were available to go with me so I just decided to go by myself. It was a journey half way around the world from my native California. I’ve always been compelled, much like what Eleanor Roosevelt once said to “do the thing that scares you.” Further, if I am having a challenging time I always like to do something that will offer me a new perspective.
After landing in Sydney and enjoying the goings on there in the capitol city of New South Wales, I got on another plane and headed for Cairns, Queensland in the far north of Australia, nearly 2000 miles away. Fortuitously for me, the pilots invited me to sit with them in the cockpit (pre-9/11 of course) as they regaled me with lore from the Queensland jungle.
Quickly following my disembarking I decided to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef. I had never scuba dived before, but it seemed like the thing to do. The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest reef system and is composed over 2,900 reefs (wiki). Of course it is also famous for being one of the seven natural wonders of the world. I settle into my hostel, found a resort’s course that would allow me to dive after a 30 minute or so tutorial right on the boat and my new roomie, who was visting from Brisbane in the south, generously made me a Vegemite sandwich to take with me. She drove me to the dock and soon the instructor gave me the moniker “Little California” because the crew had a hard time locating a wet suit small enough to fit me.
At the end of the 30 minute overview, nearly all of my fellow newbies, about 15 people, decided not to scuba the reef. As it turned out, when it came down to it, they were afraid of breathing with the respirator. The Canadian girl to the left of me had a panic attack as she tried the respirator and the Irishman to the right of me sucked so hard on his respirator he nearly hyperventilated.
I too, seeing my mates go down like a house of cards, felt scared. However, I didn’t want do go back home not having had this experience. In a decidedly compulsive fashion I kept telling myself, “Just breathe. Just breathe. Just breathe.”
The remaining group partnered up and because I did not have a partner, naturally, my partner was the instructor. We held hands and swam around like the characters from the Blue Lagoon movie. We gave each other lots of enthusiastic “thumbs up” and happy exaggerated gestures. Even when we swam through a group of little sharks, I felt at peace and trusting of the experience. I knew as long as I kept gently and rhythmically breathing, I’d be okay.
Many times during my life I have remembered this sweet experience. Once I decided to breathe easily and calmly, much of the rest fell into place. A great deal of possible worries transformed into effortless flow. As in the first chapter of my Alma Answers e-course and in almost all spiritual traditions and cultural narratives, we begin with the breath.
(c) 2012 Jeanine Marie Austin, Ph.D., C.Ht.
Doctor of Life Coaching, Certified Hypnotherapist
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