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Evolve — Breath Part V May 29, 2011

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 4:32 am
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I thought I was done with this breathing business, but then today in yoga I heard stuff about breath that I have never heard before.  My new teacher for the morning talked about breath having 4 parts, I thought it was just in and out, then on to the next breath. She didn’t go into all the parts specifically, or maybe she did and I was busy breathing, but then she talked about letting our breath evolve.

Perhaps instead of controlling every element of our lives like our breath, we need to do the work, in and out, and then let it evolve.

I like that. Like my breath, I am evolving. We all are. We are not the same as yesterday, nor will we be the same tomorrow. When I step into yoga class tomorrow I will be showing up with a different body than the one I showed up with today. Evolved. Still me, just evolved. Still you, just evolved. We think we are done, then along comes something else to learn about ourselves.

by J.G. McGlothern


Breath Prayer — Breath Part IV May 27, 2011

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 2:53 pm
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While breathing with the llamas this past weekend on Whidbey Island I learned about breath prayer. How to create one – how to let it evolve. Using it this week has moved me to a new place and although prayer is so personal and intimate I want to share it with you.

Breath prayer has a history I’ve already forgotten because I have taken the part that works for me and applied it to my life. One week into this and I am talking like I have been doing it for years — well, in some ways I have. I just now have a name for it.

A breath prayer has two parts and in general the whole of it makes up 6 to 9 syllables. The first part is a praise or name you have for God: Beautiful Creator, Source, Mystery, Big Guy in Sky, Loving Mother, Father, Abba, Yahweh,….you get the idea, the bigger picture outside of yourself. The second part consists of your petition or desire: Grant me, Lead me, Show me, Teach me…express your deepest desire in a few short words. Is your desire wisdom, love, patience, peace, joy, trust? Lay it out before your God in a long deep breath.

I created one that has been working for me and drawing me out of my head to a place of love. I utter it to myself when I got off track, think negative thoughts that aren’t doing any good. Mine has even turned into a song, I hum it now not just when I need to get back on track, it is becoming part of me. And isn’t that what prayer is? An inhale and an exhale. The less words the better so you can hear the beauty that comes in the silence. The gift in a simple breath.

by J.G. McGlothern


Soul Friend — Breath Part III May 26, 2011

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 6:21 pm
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Anam Cara, my faith sharing group of almost nine years got away last weekend for our annual retreat. We chose the name Anam Cara for our group years ago because it means soul friend and that is exactly who we are for each other. Meeting the second and fourth Mondays of every month we gather in circle to breathe in and breathe out our fears, joys, challenges, and hopes together. Holding each story tenderly.

This year we rented a farm house for the location of our retreat on an alpaca/llama farm and called our retreat:  Breathing with the Llamas. And that is what we did. Looking out at the Puget Sound over the bluff and breathing in the water’s beauty in one direction and breathing in the green valley and peaceful roaming animals in the other.

It was in our silence this past weekend that I felt most connected to the group of five other women. Each taking their breathing time in as their souls directed. I needed a nap, a walk and some time to read. Being silent amidst women you’ve shared so much of yourself with defines the nature of our friendships.  Trust. Faith. Love. Hope.

All held together tenderly, touching our souls, as sweetly as the breath of an angel. Carrying me through the week so I can fly freely. Carrying me through my journey so I am not alone.

by J.G. McGlothern


Breathe Hot — Breath Part II May 25, 2011

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 1:59 pm
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I don’t believe in coincidences. Accidents don’t happen. And yes, there is a reason for it all, the good, the bad and the ugly too.

So when I found myself for the first time yesterday morning at Breathe, Hot Yoga, a new studio near my neighborhood, during the time I am writing a series on Breath, I didn’t think it was weird or an accident. Just divine and very cool.

When I release control in my life it all works out. I have been going to the same yoga studio for three years and wasn’t planning a change, and I don’t know if the change is permanent. I guess I don’t believe in permanence either. But for whatever the reason I found myself at a new place, breathing in new air with the same yoga poses.  Although the poses familiar, and what my body needs, the new space, in the new air made them feel different somehow.

I have faith in the unknown, possibility. I believe in hope, beauty, forgiveness, love, and the power of connecting body, mind and soul, with one breath.

by J.G. McGlothern


From the Gut — Breath Part I May 24, 2011

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 2:15 pm
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You wouldn’t know it, but I played the trumpet for five years. And I’ll never forget Mr. Gary, my fifth grade band teacher, telling me to breathe from my diaphragm.

You’ll run out of air. You can’t hold a note as long when you breathe from your throat.

He would place my own hand on my belly and instruct me to breathe down deep in my diaphragm.

My junior year of high school I was a cheerleader, and this you would know if you saw me at one of my kids’ soccer games, bowling, or after a couple cocktails.

After every Friday night football game, I would lose my voice. Throat breather, not using my diaphragm. That same year my English teacher told me I would never make it as a broadcaster, my then dream.

Your voice is too breathy and if you want to be a broadcaster you need to learn how to use your diaphragm.

I no longer play the trumpet, put on a short skirt and shake my pom-poms, or have dreams of broadcasting the news, but I use my voice. And learning how to speak from a deeper place is what helps me to live more from my heart.  Some days I still lose my voice and other days I am silent.  But if I place my hand on my belly and feel the inhale and exhale, I can also hear my heart beating. Loud and strong.

by J.G. McGlothern


Monday’s Random Thought: Breathe May 23, 2011

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 1:36 pm
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Have you ever gone a whole day holding your breath? What would happen if you stopped a couple of times today and just observed your breath? Would the day go more smoothly because you took the time to pause? Would your heart stop racing and your slowed down breath take you to a new place? Worth the trip, don’t you think? And the journey is only an inhale away.

by J.G. McGlothern


Photographic Memory May 19, 2011

Filed under: From The Heart — heartwriter @ 6:28 pm
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My mom is getting her photos organized. I could easily be doing the same with my boxes of photos, but for now I am helping her organize, toss, and establish some order to her stacks of pictures. Recently going through box after box of her photographs with her, I was sent back in time. Memories were uncovered. Past moments that I wouldn’t have remembered if it weren’t for picture proof.  Hair styles forgotten, clothes dared to be worn, expressions of joy, surprise, even a glimpse or two of sadness, all evidence of occurrence. Not just a dream or forgotten memory.

The way we take pictures has rapidly changed the last few years.

Everyone has a camera in their phone and I see events, brief moments, being captured in time with a click of button, more now than ever.  It used to be phenomena to whip out the big camera, adjust the lens, focus and snap. You wouldn’t see the result until after you took the roll of film to the developer. Now, snap and you can see the result, post it to your friends, mail it to grandma, all in another snap. Yes, the convenience and technological advances are amazing. But my slower to adapt mind wouldn’t mind waiting for the film to develop so I can just be with the experience in front of me, instead of looking at a picture of what my kids are doing. The kids are right there, here in front of me, why am I being sucked in to taking their photo and now standing here looking at it?

What are we hoping to capture? To me the photographs are like words in a diary.  Personal, intimate and meant to be viewed at another time not in the moment of the experience. The photo allows you to experience the moment again and again.  That’s why I love stumbling across old photos.  They are reminders of the past.

As we organize my mom’s photos each now has its own place. Every envelope with its own label: the one for grandchildren, German relatives, trips abroad, friends, family gatherings. I help mom organize the stacks. But it is up to her to keep or toss. And many will be tossed. She was married to a man who loved life and drank it up, but his picture taking ability well…not the best. So there are lots of photos of unidentified objects, darkness, blurs, backs of heads, and about fifty pictures of the same scene. She will look at them, relive the experience, hold the memory in her hand and then keep only the ones she wants to save, to pass on to her children.  Valued moments passed on, worth re-living.

Holding on to the things that have a place in my heart and letting go of the ones that don’t. I can do that in my life with more than pictures.

by J.G. McGlothern