Song Dedication: Astral Plane by Valerie June
Imagine what it might feel like if someone hooked your bloodstream up to one of those super Pinterest popular home soda makers designed for function, efficiency and beauty. As the carbonation began to mix with your hemoglobin, you might fear impending death, since your vital life juice is not intended for such an alteration…but if we suspend that gruesome reality for a moment, conjuring a sensation of effervescence filling each vein and artery, infusing a sensitivity to such vitality that your awareness becomes conscious from the place where strands of hair root closely to your grey matter, your hands although empty feel heavy with lightness and your toenails tingle with their subtle infinitesimal growth. Your neck and shoulders finding clemency inching away from ears in the relentless holding pattern of the unconscious. Your rib cage expanding upward, outward, backward and downward. Your pelvis settling quietly disengaging from hip flexors. Your limbs drowsing, heavily weighted to the floor by gravity. Your lungs cycling oxygen and carbon dioxide at steady intervals without pause, creating a circle of protection around all that you are and ever will be.
This. This was my embodied experience in my most recent participation of a Breath of Bliss Ceremony that took place nearly one week ago.
My previous and only other experience with this ancient practice was about a year ago, in which I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of it. Something had happened. Something had shifted. More than one something that is for certain. But in that space at that time, I was abundantly aware of how much I was still holding. Like an old cargo trunk, I endeavoured to hold my contents securely and resolutely, latch in place; no manner of shaking or disruption would let me spill. I mean, I spilled a bit that night over a three hour ceremony, but part of my goal was to mop myself up afterwards and get the hell home stuffing cotton baton into the hole that had suddenly materialized, revealing too much for me to be with at that moment in my life.
Fast-forwarding 2 weeks short of one year ago, I found myself full circle…laying in a full circle…performing circle breath. Huh?!
The space was physically different, along with the facilitator and helper but the sense of safety still came in swift and I was able to accept this compassionate holding immediately because of the work I’ve done over the year. The 50 minutes that followed were dare I say, transcendent. Back to the soda analogy, I mean, I really felt as though I had gone through a blood transfusion and they had put Mountain Dew into my blood bag! Sorry that is gross, especially if you are a Mountain Dew drinker, my apologies. But the sensations throughout my body were not entirely lost on me, having experienced a similar response the last time.
What was new, was my acceptance of this state. The more I breathed in a continuous revolution the more I felt my inner beingness open bravely with vulnerability. With that receptivity I was able to observe the incoming images and sensations, uninterrupted by my thinking analytical brain. I wasn’t disruptive or hindering of what was trying to reach me. I surrendered completely.
A few things of note happened, I experienced involuntary movements, like my hands stiffening and then my arms slowly raising to rest by my shoulders in some weird sleeplike muscle man pose, my head intermittently shook back and forth as if to say “nope, nuh-uh, this shit isn’t going down on my watch.” And I had a few bouts of crying, but unlike before the weeping wasn’t born of profound despair, this time it was of pure, potent joy, so beautifully overwhelming that I could barely reconcile the sadness that had once preceded this space in my body.
Bliss! Now I get it!
The workshop I attended was not solely for the Breath of Bliss Ceremony, it was accompanied by other intentional activities of connection to self and our body, the other participants with a primary focus on presence. I, being a huge presence practitioner, falling out of it constantly but more importantly, noticing that (now) and holding my little self’s hand and bringing me back each time like a wandering toddler. It’s all very sweet. So I did my thing and set my intention, as well as hoping to leave with a mantra to keep me “in my lane” for the New Year. By the end of the day I felt like I had delivered.
I had an amazing embodied, present experience that lasted far longer than the 2 or so minutes of consciousness I can mobilize during self-directed meditation and mindfulness.
I met and interacted with some new people and some not so new, but the human experience of connecting with the like-minded is always so rewarding. You know when you can just “be” without having to justify your position on something because the other BE-ings are just there to “be” too?
I drew! I drew a drawing for the sake of processing for the first time in forever. I had no intention to share it or sell it or use it in anyway other than to honour my experience.
And from that drawing I was able to stretch myself to find my mantra.
The tricky bit about a mantra is it should be spoken with specificity and emotion to truly manifest its intention. We say all sorts of things, profound or not so, yet not really feel what we are vocalizing. This was my struggle. I preconceived my mantra, being the well-prepared student I so am, and in that lost some of the spontaneity of the present energy and process that would help me define the words I needed to guide this year’s intention. I left with something to save face, but Danielea (one of the facilitators) sensed my lack of impassioned commitment to the mantra I shared at the end of our day. She simply asked, “…and how do you feel when you chant this, do you really feel it?”
Dang it…that lack of feeling, that thing I’ve been trying my damndest to overcome…she was right…they were mostly just words. I left with a familiar feeling of unresolvedness and an assembling of words: I choose to honour my truth. Meh. I actually think I was recycling my 2018 mantra that I didn’t even know I had! Which is why it fell flat…I have been honouring my truth and THIS blog is my confirmation of that!
I allowed it to be so and kept Saturday’s experience close to my heart as I continued to process and be open to something else. And then three days later, I was driving to yoga and a random song came on from my little used running playlist. Sia’s I’m Still Here began and I listened. The words moved me more than ever before..
I’m winning the war now
I’m winning it all now
Watch tears while they fall down
I’m winning the war now
I win against ego
Cast light on the shadow’s long
I’m winning from ego
I’m lighting the long way home
As she sang about believing in herself, finally, it came to me.
I CHOOSE TO TRUST MYSELF, now and continuously.
This moved me to tears, of yet again, joy. The more I said it, the more I felt it in my heart centre. It made so much sense and I could even see the initial identification with truth-telling was interwoven in the sentiment of my new mantra. Truth equals trust does it not? I have since repeated and meditated with my new mantra and each time it evokes my true being. I feel the immense empowerment within each time I state it and conversely realize my deep lack of trust lurking within prior to this moment. I trust all that has happened before this point has been crucial to my growth and awareness, yet I trust what is happening now is what matters most.