The whole breath and nothing but the breath
“He who half breathes, half lives.”—Ancient Eastern proverb
So I hear there’s a new bestseller about the power of breathing. Written by James Nestor, it’s called Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art. I’ve ordered it and am looking forward to reading it, but, from what I can tell, it echoes much of the same info as the breathing book I wrote in 1996 when Taz was three.
I called it Jumpstart Your Metabolism, because, among other things, proper breathing (which most of us don’t do) pumps up your metabolism. It was my way of tricking people into paying attention to this uber-important body function that we tend to take for granted.
I initially self-published it. I’ve got a great photo of three-year-old Taz walking “the yellow brick road” she made out of the books wearing her ruby red slippers, the ones she liked to sleep in. Eventually, Simon & Schuster bought it and, far as I know, it’s still out there inspiring people to “take a big, deep breath.”
After re-reading my own book (funny how I have to do that sometimes), I decided to post this excerpt:
“Breathing, quite frankly, is the most underrated activity on the planet. My own interest in this topic started when somebody gave me a series of motivational tapes by Tony Robbins, the self-help guru whose late-night infomercials are enough to inspire a sea slug. I’d love to tell you I sat down immediately, listened to each and every tape, and suddenly became a genius, but the truth is I didn’t get around to listening to most of them until a few years later.
“While driving home to my mother’s house for the mandatory Thanksgiving turkey, I happened to plug in a cassette in the series that talks about energy: how to get it, how to keep it. Since this was a subject I was miserably lacking in, I decided to pay attention.
“At the time, I had about as much energy as a dead goldfish. I was a single mom of a then one-year-old. Need I say more? Between diapers, fevers, and rent payments that seemed to be due every five minutes, energy was not a word in my vocabulary. It was obviously Tony’s favorite word.
“Even his voice was infectious. I almost stopped the car and did a polka. He talked about energy and how the best way to get it was to breathe. Since I was presumably already breathing, I didn’t think it’d be too much trouble to breathe a little more.
So I did.
Now you’ve got to understand something about me. This cassette was the 17th in the series and so far, I hadn’t followed through on any of them.
But breathing was so simple, so undemanding.
Maybe I’d even follow through on his suggested 21-day breathing program. If he’d asked me to swear off chocolate or run up ten flights of stairs, that would have been a different story. But all he wanted in return for all this boundless energy was ten deep breaths three times a day. I could fit that in between meals.
Besides, what did I have to lose? I didn’t have to buy anything or go anywhere or even stick with it longer than the average lunar cycle.
Well, to make a long story short, I followed through with the breathing—all 21 days. And guess what?
Tony was right. I felt as if somebody finally flipped the switch. I actually had energy for the time since Taz was born. She had to be wondering what in the heck was going on. Her draggy mommy had suddenly turned into Jim Carrey. Once, I’m pretty sure I even saw her wanting to stick her finger down her throat, roll her eyes, and say, “Chill, mom.” But luckily this was before she could speak.”
The book goes on to explain how nine out of ten of us are wimpy breathers and it gives breathing cocktails (I have always eschewed the word exercises) to overcome this deficiency. After mentioning my new interest in my old book, a member of one of my posses mentioned she had once laminated a couple of the exercises and kept them by her bed.
I’m not sure why it surprises me so much when I hear people actually “listen” to what I write.
Anyway, my friends, as I say in the end of that book, “May the breath be with you…..with all its accompanying peace, passion and prosperity.”
And, as always, have the best weekend of your life.
Pam Grout is the author of 20 books including E-Squared, E-Cubed, Thank & Grow Rich and her latest book, The Course in Miracles Experiment: A Starter Kit for Rewiring Your Mind (And Therefore Your World).