The whole breath and nothing but the breath

“He who half breathes, half lives.”—Ancient Eastern proverb 0001aaac

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.

Another favorite photo of my angel.

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).

Iran, writing a TV series and walking around the world with a teddy bear: the perks of being a writer

On my list of top three things I love about being a writer is that I get emails from readers. These joyful notes that show up unexpectedly in my inbox come from all over the world, constantly piquing my curiosity with, “How in the heck did that nanny from Iceland find my breathing book?”

I have dozens of Facebook friends from Iran. Not that I can read what they post—it’s in Persian. But I was finally able to ascertain that these friend requests are the result of somebody pirating the English version of my book, Jumpstart your Metabolism, and translating it into Farsi. Not exactly legal, but certainly a giant compliment.

I became close friends with a wonderful woman who lives on a tree farm in California, even writing a TV pilot with her and sharing a trip to Mexico. We had a blast and completely defied the old school conditioning that you should “never trust a stranger.” Now, it seems impossible that Heather and I haven’t known each other forever.

Another favorite request came from a reader in New Jersey. One of my books had an experiment that involved carrying around giant stuffed animals. It proves just how friendly and funny people are, a discovery I made after bringing back a monstrous moose from a travel-writing gig in Montana. This reader offered to walk to my house all the way from New Jersey (I live in Kansas) with a four-foot teddy bear. With that guy, I didn’t book a trip to Mexico.

My new book, E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments to Prove your Thoughts Create your Reality, also includes experiments. So, needless to say, I’m starting to hear from readers. Not two days after it came out, I heard from a fabulous Southwest flight attendant who heard me on Hay House Radio, bought the book and had immediate results.

Just yesterday, at my Spiritual Entrepreneurs group, a photographer, who I’ll call Sherry because that is not her name, told us that last week she was bemoaning the fact that she didn’t have a clear bead on what she wanted. “I know setting an intention works,” she said, “But I don’t really know what I want. I just want people to knock on my door and bring money.”

Not four hours after making that statement, “Sherry” was sitting on her couch when the doorbell rings. It was a friend, who she hadn’t seen in a couple weeks. She was evidently on her way to an appointment.

“I don’t have time to chat,” the friend said. “But here’s the money for those pictures. Enjoy.”