By Francisca Hernandez
Thursday, December 05, 2019
A few months ago, on a Saturday morning, I was meditating. In the last few moments, before my meditation ended, I had the joyful feeling of playing guitar. I imagined my family (and others I didn't know) all singing along while I gleefully and lovingly strummed my guitar.
My alarm went off as my body was still gently swaying. I slowly opened my eyes and wiggled my fingers and toes, bringing myself back into the present moment in my bedroom. Later, I looked up guitar lessons in Houston.
After some research, I had narrowed my options down to two teachers. I wanted to feel them out and let my intuition decide which one was best for me. I logically thought a phone conversation would be the best indicator.
I got both of their voicemails when I reached out to them. One responded by text, and the other called back. The teacher that called had great reviews. He was close by and offered hour-long classes. We had a pleasant conversation, and I decided to choose him. Though I was hoping for weekend lessons, he told me he didn’t offer classes on Saturdays. So I settled for Thursday afternoons.
Even though I’d scheduled a lesson, something didn’t feel right. I logically concluded that my fear was surfacing and ignored the nudge. A few days went by, and I still felt unsettled, so I made a choice just to let go and ask for help. If the lessons with the guitar teacher who I’d spoken with were meant to happen, I would receive a sign.
A few days before my scheduled lesson, the second teacher sent me a text asking if I was still interested in taking lessons. Though his location was further, I responded with a question about Saturday classes. He replied that one of his spots had just opened up. I immediately felt relieved and canceled my Thursday lesson.
Driving to my first guitar lesson, I wondered if I wanted to make this 45-50 minute drive each Saturday. I decided to relax and enjoy the drive. I can’t explain it, but deep down, I knew that there was a reason for choosing this teacher.
It turns out that my teacher practices meditation and yoga, as well. During our conversation about meditation and yoga, he asks if I had ever tried transformational breathing. He gives me names of local yoga teachers and a breathing practitioner.
A few weeks later, he gives me “Wish You Were Here” to practice by Pink Floyd. I get into my car after the lesson and cry.
“Wish You Were Here” has given me solace at different points in my life. That song came through the radio of my red Cavalier while I was parked outside of Austin High School, crying my eyes out.
I was berating myself and wondering how I’d gotten into another abusive relationship and how I would pull my almost forty-year-old self out of it.
I felt my dad and something/one else I couldn’t describe lifting me up as soon as that song played. I slowly raised my head from the steering wheel. I looked into my bloodshot, puffy red eyes in the rearview mirror, and said to myself, “We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl.”
My tears stopped, and I didn’t feel alone anymore. I put the car in drive and went home. I slept so peacefully that night and ended that relationship the next day.
Throughout my life, that song has meant different things at different times. My guitar teacher has no way of knowing what that song means to me.
A few weeks later, I look up the breathing lady. The first session I can attend is on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and the drive is more than an hour away. I choose to let myself experience both her yoga and breath work session. After all, if I’m going to drive all that way, I might as well take advantage of the time.
I meditate before I make the drive. I’m feeling satisfied and catching up on podcasts the whole way there. It’s a beautiful drive. Though the sky is overcast, there is no traffic. The freeway is practically empty.
I decide to set my intentions for the upcoming yoga practice and breath work session; I choose gratitude and letting go.
I arrive a little over an hour later and thirty minutes early. As I drive around the farm and look for the pavilion where the yoga and breathing session will be, I remember a dream I had a few months ago.
In the dream, I was walking for a long time. There were rock paved roads like the one leading to this very farm. I walked up to the brick front doorway entrance, and my family is waiting there for me. But this family isn’t my blood-related family; they are my soul family. I keep walking in and out of the doorway. I move from the couch in front of the fireplace to the door and back again. Then we watch the sunset as we wait for the rest of our family to join us.
I drive to a building that seems like the pavilion I’m looking for, but no one is there. So I drive back to the house in front. As I sit in my car listening to a podcast, I realize that the brick front doorway right in front of me is the exact one I dreamt a few months ago.
A car drives up. The driver happens to be the breathing lady, Mary. She confirms that the pavilion is indeed the building in the back. She asks how I heard about the class. I tell her that Alan, my guitar teacher referred me.
As the other students trickle in, I’m instructed to grab blankets, bolsters, and blocks. I smile, elated that the yoga session seems like it will be restorative and slow. Slow restorative yoga is my favorite.
Mary introduces me to the class. She explains that she has known my guitar teacher, Alan, for quite some time. They met when Mary first started teaching yoga and transformational breathing years ago. She asks the rest of the class to introduce themselves.
Then she begins the practice with a story from the Upanishads. The themes, she announces, are gratitude and letting go. I smile internally and externally as a few tears of joy fall.
The yoga practice and is satisfyingly deep and fulfilling. I find myself softly swaying during the chanting and meditation. She calls us back to the room as the meditation ends.
As we prepare for the breathwork portion, everyone helps with setting up the nesting spots. As I lay on my yoga mat covered with about three or four blankets, Hallelujah is playing on the loudspeaker. I have my eyes closed. It sounds like the other students might be singing.
Mary asks us to sit up as she explains breathwork. She asks if anyone wants to volunteer for a breath analysis. I look around; no one has their hand raised. As I think about volunteering, she calls on another student with his hand up.
We gather around him. Mary and Faith, the owner of the farm, start analyzing his breathing. They ask questions. He goes deep, sharing his about his insecurities, childhood, and parents. As I look on with tears streaming down my face, I’m sure that my place at that moment is right where I’m at, not being analyzed, but observing.
Chills rise through my body as I start connecting the dots. Before I start getting too far lost in thought, Mary calls us back to our nests. We cozy-up with a bolster supporting our knees, a rolled-up blanket under our neck, a couple of blankets covering our bodies, and a scented eye pillow. I choose rose. I know that rose essential oil is excellent for letting go and emotional release.
She explains how she’s handpicked the mostly instrumental songs on her playlist based on the titles. She was called to them, she says.
As she begins the music for our breathwork session, she calls on our ancestors, angels, and ascended masters.
I start inhaling as she instructed, with my mouth open. I exhale fully, again with my mouth open.
“Inhale deeply, exhale easily, with no break in between,” I hear her say over the music. I listen to her walking around, offering adjustments and affirmations to students around me.
I start feeling a bit anxious and scared; I feel like I’m falling. I try to let go. I tell myself that I’m safe. I try to focus on my breath. Then as I’m trying to get lost in my breath, Mary kneels next to me. She places her hand on my sternum.
“Beautiful breath,” she says. “Let go; you’re protected,” she whispers.
She places her hand underneath my right shoulder; my shoulders and neck relax. I let go.
I start laughing and crying at the same time.
“Yes,” she says.
I fully connect the dots. I feel like I’m flying. I’m aware of where I am and who I am at that moment. I am everywhere and nowhere. I am everything and nothing at all. I’m in my body, and I’m soaring above myself. I am my breath, and my breath is me.
I feel chills rise through the left side of my body. My left side, the feminine side, is being held by my grandmother. She died when I was a few years old. I didn’t know her, but in the last few years, I’ve heard her laugh and felt her near. I know my Isabelle is with me too. I sense others I don’t recognize holding my left side up as well. I feel energy flowing into my left-side body.
Then I feel the right side, my masculine side, tingle. I sense my father, both of my grandfathers, and others I don’t know holding me up. I feel energy flowing out of my body from the right side.
This is why I choose my guitar teacher. I’m soaring and laughing again.
I don’t know shit; I know nothing. I have no idea what is being orchestrated on my behalf.
Then I remember where I am. I’m in a room with others. I hear them breathing too. I hear the music playing. I realize I’ve been crying and laughing out loud with reckless abandon. I feel the floor underneath. I’m sweating.
I run through a list of all the people I know that would benefit from this; my mom, my brother, my sister, my friends from group yoga therapy. This would be life-changing for everyone.
I feel Mary next to me again. She places her hand on my sternum and underneath my right shoulder. My mouth is dry, and I try to catch my breath.
“You don’t have to try so hard.” she says.
I start laughing again. I know nothing. And I am safe; I’ve always been safe.
“Beautiful breath,” she says.
All of the crap I’ve been through, abusive relationships, drugs, alcohol, and numbing; they were all part of my journey to this place. All of the personal development and times I chose to care for myself, the happy and ecstatic times, they were also part of my journey to this place.
Alan met Mary years ago. This moment has been in the making probably since before then. None of that matters. Now is the only thing that matters. I let go again as I laugh.
I’m soaring again.
The top of my head starts tingling. It feels like it’s opening up, like I’m opening up. I feel open and expansive. I’m laughing again.
My eye pillow falls off. I still have my eyes closed. Light flows into my body from the crown of my head. I feel like light is flowing through me. I’m a channel of light. It flows from the top of my head and out the bottom of my feet. The light emanates from my solar plexus and the small of my back at the same time.
I’m home. Home is me, and I’m perfect. The sun rises and sets, that’s not my job. Everyone has their journey, it’s not my job to fix them. They are perfectly where they need to be. They are perfect, just as I am.
I feel whole and complete; I’m full of love. I’m in love with me; love is in me.
I AM LOVE.
Mary calls on us to come back as the music stops. My breathing regulates. I can’t quite remember how we close the breathwork session. But we start folding our blankets and putting up the bolsters and other equipment.
Then we all gather for a circle group hug. Mary starts singing a song and everyone joins in. I join in on the second, third, and fourth verses. They are all the same.
Everyone’s eyes are shining and bright.
One of the students asks me if I’d like to join them for lunch. I accept the invitation. We drive up to the main house on the farm. I sit in my car, waiting for the rest of the class as I stare at the brick front doorway. I recall the fireplace from my dream. It was a brick fireplace.
I walk into the house. A woman is speaking with other people that were in the class. When Faith walks in, the lady hugs Faith expressing joy and gratitude for what Faith has done for her son. I have no idea what’s going on, but I’m moved.
I ask to use the bathroom. As I make my way there, I see the brick fireplace from my dream. I look at my face in the bathroom mirror. I remember all of the times I’ve looked into my eyes after crying. The lyrics from “Wish You Were Here” flow into my mind. I smile.
I walk out with so many questions. Am I meant to learn breathwork? I’d been interested and looked it up about a year ago. Is this the place from my dream? Is this why I decided to no longer participate in group therapy yoga? Was I making room for this? Was this why I bought my guitar years ago? Was this why I looked up guitar lessons? If I had chosen the other guitar teacher, would I still have found my way here? Did I really just experience my wholeness? Was my soul directing me this whole time? Am I really being supported all the time? Am I making too much of this?
As I walk out of the bathroom, the lady that was hugging Faith reaches out to hug me.
“Yes.” she says. “I don’t know what your question is, but Spirit tells me that the answer is yes. Yes, to everything.”
As I drive home, I logically try to make sense of what happened. I don’t know how long this elated feeling will last.
Then I realize that I don’t care. Because in those moments, I found my way back home to myself in a way I never had before. I’ve never experienced anything like that, and I don’t know if I ever will again.
What I do know is that I know nothing. And for the first time in my life, that’s perfectly fine with me. Did this resonate? Has your soul similarly directed you? I’d love to hear from you. Comment and let me know.
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