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“Become aware of the fact of your breath.”

Gary Kraftsow

The fact of my breath?

This seems rather obvious, right? Of course I breathe, and that’s a fact.

I am studying one of Gary Kraftsow’s instructional videos. As he guides us into the stillness of shavasana at the beginning of the asana practice, he directs us with this instruction: “become aware of the fact of your breath”.

As this statement twisted quietly within me during the practice and since I first heard it last week, I have become more and more aware of how I take ‘the fact of my breath’ for granted. Given the nature of my yoga practice, given the nature of my very life, breath is obvious. Yet, I have to admit that I take its life-giving presence for granted, period!

At this moment, while looking at these words and internalizing their power, I am becoming aware of another fact of breath: there is no cost to the air that I breathe. I just do it. Yes, within the yoga lifestyle, I learn and practice control of breath. I practice the healing direction of the life energy (prana) with my breath. BUT! I do not fully appreciate the sacred nature of this gift.

What else do I take for granted?

As I have shared over the past few months, I am working on steps 8 and 9 of the 12 steps of recovery. In these steps, we list the people we have hurt by our addiction, then we make amends to these people when to do so would injure them or others. True amends, true forgiveness, requires surrender. To what do I surrender? The person I hurt may not accept my amends.

I am faced with another challenge to my connection with my Higher Power, my God. I won’t let anybody love me for nothing. Try as I may, there is a deeply planted expectation that I can somehow pay or barter for the love of you or my God. I simply will not let somebody love me for nothing.

Here is a simple example: Prior to retirement, my wife and I shared the preparation of meals. Whoever got home from work first prepared supper. This was simple and fair. Since our retirement, she has taken the primary responsibility of meal preparation. I’ve struggled with this. However, I have come to the rationale that I have been working on a remodeling project which is taking a lot of my free time. So that gives me a “fairness” balance to her meal preparation.

Why do I have to make it fair? Why can I not simply accept her gift as an expression of her love?

Why can I not accept breath as an act of Divine love?

Why can I not accept life as an act of Divine love?

I have lots of explanations, none of which is acceptable to me. I simply need to practice humility and come to deepen my perspective on God’s totally unconditional love for me and that each breath is evidence of that love.

AND, there is nothing I can do to pay for either.

I’ll start with accepting your friendship, your presence and loving support in my life.

Yup, that’s a great place to start.

Deep, grateful breath.


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