belly, chest, exhale...
she lay on her back and stared at the ceiling of the small dance studio on santa monica boulevard. “the harder you work the bigger the payoff is,” the man said as he gracefully meandered through the fourteen-some people getting ready to go on an unknown journey of air with him. “so i encourage you to go for it.” the girl wrinkled her forehead considering what that even meant and slid her hand off the familiar soft green blanket and onto the new hard wood floor of the dance studio. “you may get dizzy,” he said. “your hands may cramp.” she cracked her knuckles. “this is all normal. just let it happen and know you are safe in your own body.” she felt her chest rise and wondered if she was cheating.
“it’s one breath, three steps. belly, chest, exhale. that’s it. that’s all you’re doing.” the music entered the room, it was loud, it had a beat and before the man could even say let’s go the entire room started to breathe.
belly, chest, exhale. belly, chest, exhale. belly, chest, exhale. it didn’t take long for her mouth to get dry and her breath to stall. am i doing this right? is it the right order? am i going fast enough? slow enough? am i getting enough air? how do i work harder? how do i…. belly, chest, exhale. belly, chest, exhale. fourteen people exhaling in their own rhythm. breathing in, breathing out. some to the beat of the music, some not at all until they all found it inside themselves and then it was just…
vastness, expansion, tingles, all over. on some level she knew she was in a small dance studio on santa monica boulevard but that was very far from where she actually was in this moment. she couldn’t feel the lines of her body anymore. all she could feel was more and more expansion. more and more life. more and more living. belly, chest, exhale. belly, chest, exhale.
“give 5% more, just 5%,” the man said and without trying she felt her belly, chest, exhale happen a little faster and she got a little dizzier and she felt the vibrations in her hands circulating at what must have been a trillion light years a minute. the music was loud. her breath was fast. her hands started to cramp and she noticed but not really because she… was…. gone…..
“i want to break free…” the music encouraged her and she felt it from the deepest part inside of her. “i’ve fallen in love for the first time,” filled her ears which were flying somewhere in the milky way of her consciousness. freedom? do i have it? have i ever experienced it? does it even exist? falling in love? have i ever had that? can i? will i always want that? will i always keep myself away from myself? what if i were to just…. belly, chest, exhale. i know i have tasted those things but why limit it to a taste? why limit anything at all? why not just...
“that’s right” he said, “just let it go.” the prison bars of the past 30 plus years of analysis begin to dissolve as her chest fell and rose and fell again. is this what it feels like? she had to ask as she felt herself on the set of her movie, with her business partner, calling action, calling cut. as she felt herself wrapping her arms around a man who she recognized as her beloved and as she felt his soft, strong loving arms wrap around her. as she felt herself singing from a stage and shining the light as bright as she could from the deepest parts of her heart. as she felt what it felt like to live out the biggest part of her inner most dreams. as she felt herself believing it all possible. is this what it feels like to break free?
“that’s it,” he said. “one more song, 5% more, go for it.” so she did and she flew. she flew above the pain of her past, the generations of unfelt grief and withheld love. she flew above her heartbreaks, her parents, her sister, her cousins, her friends. she flew above her job, her city, her house, her car. above the things of her life.
she flew above the bigness of her future, of her creations and her dreams. of her projects, and dinner parties, of her slow dances with the man she would fall in love with and the opening nights of the productions she and her partner would infuse with all of their light. they all existed everywhere within her and without, all at once and the only thing she felt was love.
her hands were fully cramped and her entire body was tingling head to toe not that she even had an awareness that she even had a body. the man spoke beautiful words and she knew they were words but she understood them at a completely different level. belly, chest, exhale. belly, chest, exhale. “and relax,” he said. “breathe now, normally.”
and the tears began streaming down her face and everything she had been holding onto seemed to flow out of her body through the hardwood floor out into the earth. she tried to unclench her hands and couldn’t. she didn’t want to force it. for once in her life she didn’t want to force anything. she couldn’t. she was so out of her own control, so out of her own way.
inhale. love. exhale. love. inhale me. exhale you. it’s here for all of us. inhale we. exhale they. this freedom, this expansion. inhale universe. exhale galaxies. it’s light. it’s air. it’s who we are. it’s what we have the capacity to be. it’s a gift who we are, who we are as we.
we could be heros, she thought on an exhale in time with the bowie cover, we are each and every one of us already heros. her hands relaxed and her toes wiggled. her tears subsided and the smile that had been there all along made its way into her brain cells. and it was her birthright to connect with people around her and allow them in to connect with her. it was her birthright to shine as bright as she possibly could and to live outside of the boundaries that she had held herself in prior to this past hour.
she knew she was smiling now, she knew she was alive, she knew she was happy, she knew this was who she was. this was her essence. this was her birthright. to be here.
it was her birthright to live the life she was tasked to live, to breathe the breath she was gifted to breathe, to take in this life she only had one of, to take in this air and to carry out the miracle that is living. now.