Note: You’re reading a sneak preview of one week in a book of daily meditations, affirmations, and inspiration. Each week features a story or reflection which connects the smaller readings for each day.
Each day you could expand your experience by
- Journalling your thoughts about it
- Sharing a related story with someone
- Making art related to that day’s reading
- Meditating for 5 minutes on the theme
- Finding a related touchstone (stone, ribbon, or other simple talisman)
Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Please feel free to leave me a comment below, or email me and let me know your thoughts… Claire
The Singing Cave
One hot summer I discovered the entrance to an old cave by the sighing, singing sound of the air as it rushed out of a hidden entryway. Making my way through the brush I was thrilled to find the sweat on my face being cooled by a crisp stream of cave breath; it was enough to lift the hot, matted hair from my neck. Before that day I never knew that caves could sing. But it's true. The very earth breathes.
There is an ancient tribal tradition in which this question is asked of a sick person: When did you last sing?
Sickness is closely associated to our breath, to our breathing. Consider this: even when you turn your ankle – which you would think has nothing to do with your lungs – your breath comes short. When you hear bad news, you gasp. It is as if the air is suddenly in short supply, just at the moment when you most need it to sustain you.
And singing requires all the breath of your body...
And so it makes sense that this ancient shamanic wisdom was that in restoring the breath, there would be healing of the body and spirit as well.
What would it mean to begin your healing journey by first focusing on your breath?
MONDAY: Warm, airy caves
Imagine yourself building a smooth, warm cave for your breath to curl into, swirl about in, and slip out of again.
Envision yourself inside a soft, glistening space – like the inside of a giant wet clay pot. Press gently against the gleaming walls to expand them. Smooth away any rough places. Everywhere your fingers touch, they leave behind a glowing trail of light and life…
See how the gentle wind swells and grows in response to the room you’re giving it? What life and peace that full breath brings.
TUESDAY: Smooth sighing
Choose a quiet moment to focus on the sighs of your breath.
As you breathe in fully, is there a place where your breath “catches”?
Note that spot, and allow it to pass.
With the next several breaths, smooth that catch out just like the ocean waves smooth away a depression in the sand.
It’s okay if it takes several minutes of measured, rhythmic breathing to ease away the roughness.
Let your breath wash in and out like the ocean waves.
WEDNESDAY: Miracle breath
I hold that deep breath of the world, and then a miracle:
As I allow the breath to find its way out again, it carries with it all the waste products, negative energy, and stress with it.
The good flows in, the unnecessary flows out.
THURSDAY: Round belly doodling
When my children were small I used to amuse them by doodling funny little pictures on their skin. They loved these “tattoos” and liked to make them on me, as well. It encouraged their creative spirit.
One way to improve your deep breathing is to remember to let the breath come all the way in to fill up your lungs and push out your belly.
It’s a round belly breath!
In celebration of your round belly breath, choose a non-toxic pen (there are plenty out there) or a makeup pen (eyeliners work) and doodle a swirl, smiley, or flower on your belly.
Use it to help you be mindful of your round belly breathing…
FRIDAY: Healing songs
What songs are in your breath? As you practice meditative breathing, listen carefully to hear what tiny sounds are coming out with your breath.
- Are they the beginning of a hum of health?
- Are they the beginning of a song your heart wants to sing?
- Are you going to let yourself sing this healing breath song?
SATURDAY: Giggling yourself well
My breathing curls my lips into a smile and makes my eyes crinkle and shine.
I push the breath out in little hiccups and puffs.
Soon I am giggling.
And then my friend is laughing, too.
This is a healing breath!
SUNDAY: Sing some!
Do you sing in the car? The shower? On your back deck late at night, inspired by the moon? Allow yourself to sing this week, even if you don’t think you have a “singing voice.” Everyone who breathes has a singing voice.
Even if it’s just “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” a quiet humming under your breath, or the latest tune on the charts, sing the exact amount you want to be healthy.
And remember the shaman’s question to the sick person: When did you last sing?