The importance of breathing (and why you’re not doing it right)

The breath.

We are so scared of it, and yet it is life.

Breath is the only way through pain. The only way through fear. The only way through joy.

And most of us are crap at it – the average person uses less than 25 percent of their lung capacity during normal breathing.

We neglect it even when we occasionally notice that we’re only taking shallow breaths, that our lungs are never completely filled, that our belly doesn’t rise and fall as we know it should.

The fact that we’re taking in less oxygen than our bodies are constructed to receive has an impact on the whole system. Habitual shallow breathing or thoracic breathing is a major precursor for cardiovascular problems, not to mention respiratory problems, as well as a host of other health issues.

Essentially (if you’ll allow me to be completely reductionist for a moment),

insufficient breath = contraction.

We contract in order to stop our bodies from breathing fully, and this contraction, on top of the lower intake of oxygen has a knock-on effect on our system at the mental, emotional, energetic and physical level.

Why we don’t breathe properly

The originating cause is usually mental and/or emotional anxiety, which – especially over a protracted period of time – has an impact on our energy system, and then becomes manifest in the body and shows up as shallow breathing.

When we don’t breathe fully it’s hard to feel grounded, we have lower energy levels and are less resilient to stress.

Breath is the primary way in which we exchange with the outside world. It is the physiological counterpart to the arising and dissolving that is life. Breath is flow. Breath is softness. Breath is surrender.

And that is why we contract.

We contract against surrender, against feeling everything that’s there, against the fear of what might happen if we did. We contract to stave off emotional overwhelm, to create a barrier, a hardening between us and the outside world, to retain control.

And the price of that hardening, of that contraction, is a diminished connection to ourselves.

In hardening ourselves and not breathing through what is there, we are to some extent cutting ourselves off from feeling – the difficult feelings, but of course we also have less access to the delicious feelings as well. We feel less connected to our core, we’re more scattered, find it harder to focus and make decisions, and to listen for and honour our needs.

When we don’t breathe fully we are rejecting ourselves.

We’re rejecting our response to the world, our unmet needs, our pain, and the growth that is waiting to happen by moving through all these things.

On an emotional/energetic level, the effect of shallow breathing is stuckness. When we don’t allow what is there to pass through, when we refuse to be with it, to live it, to let it move through us, it gets stuck. The stuckness is not only emotional but also energetic, and if sustained, can create blockages (that may also eventually show up on the physical level).

We are so scared of breath, of feeling. And yet feeling is our humanity. Feeling is empathy, compassion, love. Even grief is simply love inverted. And yes, feelings can seem overwhelming. But they only become overwhelming when we consistently suppress them.

When we can be with what comes up as it arises, even though it might be intense, it is rarely overwhelming. When emotion is allowed to be there, it moves through us; at some point there are no more tears, no more rage, no more despair. At some point, peace envelops us again, like the thundering calm after a violent storm.

So how to we go about shifting our relationship to the breath, and to feeling?

Learning to breathe

You may need to re-train your body how to breathe correctly. Deep breathing or diaphragmatic breathing involves the use of the diaphragm, which helps to create more space for the lungs to expand, and for air to be pulled all the way down.

Here’s the thing: life is WAY easier to deal with when you’re taking full breaths.

There’s more space, more being with, fewer reactionary impulses. Your general state is much more calm and peaceful, and is less easily disturbed by external events. It’s easier to have perspective, to see the bigger picture, to maintain a witness perspective on what’s going on and where you’re at.

Yoga, Tai chi and meditation are all beneficial (but of course it depends what type; hatha yoga is great and yogic breath work is fantastic, breath-focussed meditation is great if you are able to relax into it).

Here are my four steps to getting started:

  1. Awareness: try paying more attention to your breath by checking in regularly throughout the day – I used a desktop timer for this (set to go off every hour) for several months and it changed me and the way I breathe. Seriously. My favourite one is Howler Timer (because you can howl along with the wolf ;)). Take a moment to close your eyes, sink into your body, and notice what your breathing is like. It’s the practice of awareness that will allow you to change the habit.
  2. Relax: be with your breath and gently exhale a little more than feels comfortable. Allow your belly to expand on the in-breath. You don’t want to be forcing anything – the intention is to relax into the breath as much as possible; let your shoulders drop, feel your torso sink into the seat (or your weight into the ground if you’re standing), let the tension melt. The more often you consciously relax, the more easily this state will be available to you.
  3. Notice: when you get present with the breath, what’s there? What do you notice about your emotions, energy, thoughts, body? Is there a particular emotion that’s always present? Do you contract certain muscle groups? What’s your posture like? Are there particular or recurrent thoughts? Noticing what’s there is great for gathering clues about the underlying cause of the contraction. Try to stay with whatever is there and be gentle with yourself.
  4. Full breaths: as your breath relaxes (you belly and chest should be moving – effortlessly! – as you breathe), try building up to a count of ten for every exhalation and inhalation. Start with 5 if your breathing is quite shallow, and work your way up – slowly.

Because we contract to avoid emotion, it’s very useful to be able to catch ourselves contracting in the moment – in a difficult situation, or when an emotion is arising, or in conflict. Ideally we modify (gently!) our breathing in the moment itself; this creates space for whatever needs to be released or expressed to do so.

Another interesting (and wonderful) thing about breathing deeply is that it slows us down.

We live in a very hectic, frantic culture in which being constantly busy is praised. As a result we’re spending far more time DOing than BEing (something I’ve written about more here), more time in our heads than in our bodies, more time trying to tick things off an endless to-do list than enjoying being alive.

Breathing fully slows down not only the breath, but our whole system (including the mind! how cool is that?!), enabling us to be more present and more deeply engaged in whatever we do.

For extra information, I love this video on how to take deep breaths, and this one that guides you through exercises to open up all the muscle groups involved and breathe “into your balls” (that’s “into your pussy” for the ladies – try it, it makes a difference!). ;)

Breathing fully is a practice for those of you who have chronic shallow breathing (as I used to) – it will take time to become the new normal. Awareness is key, and remember that it takes time for change to become embodied.

Questions or comments – get in touch!

//

 

Navigating transition with ease and grace

This life.

Beautiful, amazing, messy, miraculous, confusing, ugly, painful.

All of it sacred.

All of it unfolding perfectly, even when we can’t see it in the moment. Even when, in the dark struggle of some phases, we forget how precious all of it is, how the light is still there behind the clouds, how the timing is always perfect.

The timing is always perfect.

A big part of the art of living is choosing to believe this. To make this your narrative – so that whatever happens, no matter how incredibly awful it may seem, you will find the gifts in it.

The light. The hope. The lessons. The opportunity.

Because there is always that. Always two sides – darkness cannot exist without the light; when we look for it with open hearts even in the darkest dark, we will find light.

Wherever you are, whatever is happening, is exactly what is needed.

The timing is always perfect.

The story of our lives

Ever-unfolding, this life. Telling a story through us, through our lives, our struggles, our joys.

We are the heroes of our own stories, living a continuous cycle of hearing the call for a new adventure, severing ourselves from what we were until that point, setting forth and crossing the threshold into the uncertain territory of the unknown, facing challenges and receiving aid, surviving the greatest test of all in the final culmination of our metamorphosis, and returning to our lives irrevocably changed to begin a new phase.

So many parts of that journey that we cycle through again and again are fraught with danger – psychological danger anyway – shaking the foundation of who we thought we were.

And this is the lie we are told – that you become an adult and then you are ‘done’. Finished. Ready to go and face the world and make your life.

But this is not true.

The truth is that life is an ever-emerging process, and we, as expressions of life, are ever-unfolding beings. Our task, individually and collectively, is not to remain static, but to allow life to live us, to flow through us, to morph and shift and grow and change…and to trust that the process will unfold, that we will not get stuck in any one part of the journey, that we will emerge from each cycle of change cleansed, different in some profound way, humbler and stronger, ready for the next phase of our lives.

Transition

Transition comes at four major points on the hero’s journey; severance, crossing the threshold, facing the challenge, and returning home.

Severance is the letting go of what has been – the understanding and acceptance of the fact that what was must now end, and you must leave it behind you. In many ways this is the biggest test of our strength, because leaving behind the familiar to step into the unknown, with the uncertainty and the perceived lack of security that comes with that requires fierce courage and determination.

Crossing the threshold happens the moment we exit our habitual reality and enter the world of the unknown. There is always a perceptible shift in us when this happens; a momentary clarity that something important has changed, although we might not know what. From this moment on, our task is to remain as alert and open as possible – to be aware of any signs, coincidences or messages that cross our path. There is a giant increase in the intentionality with which we move forwards.

Successfully meeting the challenge requires the negotiation of the most dangerous part of the journey. This task, trial or challenge will ask of us to draw on strength, wisdom and courage we did not know we had, will push us to the limits of our endurance, past the point at which we thought we could survive. In a way, it will break us. The meeting of the trial is in a way a death; but a death that gives rise to a new iteration of ourselves that includes and transcends the old.

Returning home is the final transition of the journey. A sense of completion exists within you; you feel it in your bones. Time to return to regular life, to settle down again to the everyday. Fundamentally different, even if things look the same on the outside. This can be rocky navigation as well, as the intensity of the journey must be left behind and we must return profoundly changed to a world that may not have changed while we were away.

The cycle of life

Life, nature, our nature, is cyclical – we weave in and out of life phases as we grow and evolve, and are confronted with new experiences. The trick to moving through these transitions with ease and grace is to surrender to them as they arise (rather than resist, which is what often happens until we are forced to acknowledge change).

And knowing what phase of the cycle of change you’re in at any given moment is an immense aid.

It means that instead of feeling lost, terrified, hopeless or despairing, you have a framework you can place your trust in, a map with a path to follow – and while it may be a rocky, uneven and dangerous path; and while you may sometimes lose sight of it for a period of time, or doubt the signposts and fear you have lost your way, if you just keep moving forwards you will emerge from the path on the other side.

And when you bear in mind that every step is sacred – then even the hardest transitions hold beauty and grace.

//

*Terminology used comes from Joseph Campbell’s work on the monolith (see “The hero with a Thousand Faces”)

 

Stop arguing with reality (no exceptions)

In Buddhist teaching, suffering is understood to originate from the human tendency to be in a state of grasping (wanting), or rejecting (not wanting). In other words, to be either wanting something we don’t have, or to be trying to get away from something we do have, both of which lead to discontent, anxiety and contraction.

We spend much of our time in either one of these states, meaning that we exist in an almost constant state of tension — to what degree depends on the intensity with which we are grasping or rejecting (or both!).

Grasping

We grasp for things we think will make us happy.

“When I have a job I love/a great relationship/a slimmer body etc., I will be happy”

This is the fundamental concept that underlies all of our grasping. It’s the story we tell ourselves about how we can’t be happy/satisfied/contented/living life fully NOW, because something necessary for that is lacking.

This mindset of lack, or scarcity, keeps us stuck in a never-ending cycle of feeling that the present moment is not enough. We project forward into the future, holding on to the hope that at some point, when we have these things that are missing now, we will be happy. Then we’ll be able to fully show up to life.

The belief we hold is: What is there now is not enough.

To that extent, grasping is also a rejection of the present moment.

Rejecting

We reject aspects of life, and certain situations because they feel uncomfortable. Perhaps something scares us. Perhaps it hurts. Perhaps it makes us unbearably angry.

“No! This is not ok! It should be different!”

The story we tell ourselves is that our present circumstances are not acceptable. Not fair. Intolerable. That when this thing stops, or we escape from this situation, or shift this thing, then we’ll be happy. Then we’ll enjoy life. Then we’ll feel light and carefree and joyful again.

The belief we hold is: What is there now is unacceptable.

We reject what is, here in the present moment, voicelessly demanding that things be different than they are.

In both cases, we are arguing with reality.

And when we argue with reality, we lose.

What is, is. Which is not to say that we can’t work towards shifting things. But we don’t need to be arguing with reality while we’re doing that.

The reason this matters — after all, if we’re not suffering too greatly we might just decide to put up with the mild levels of tension — is that the tension produced by arguing with reality creates contraction.

And this contraction manifests on all levels of our being;

:: Physically — fidgetiness, shallow breathing, and restlessness on the milder end of the scale, to panic attacks, depression, eating disorders and all other illnesses classed as psychosomatic.

:: Mentally — we’re expending mental energy with our wanting and not wanting; we have fewer resources for other cognitive activity.

:: Emotionally — our desire for things to be different than they are takes up emotional resources, meaning that our hearts are constricted through being suffused with these desires that cannot (in the present moment) be met.

As a result, our capacity to be physically, mentally and emotionally healthy is impaired.

Contraction creates imbalances in the system, which leads to dis-ease.

As a complex (and highly adaptive) system, we might be able to function normally (even well), for quite a while. But at some point, if nothing changes, the balance is going to tip and our health is going to suffer.

This state of contraction bears its influence on all aspects of our lives; our relationships, decisions, productivity, creativity and so on. It distances us from our hearts, so that we are less open, less giving, and less able to receive. The wisdom of our hearts (those brains that beat) is reduced to a whisper.

And with time, we adapt to this state of contraction; it becomes normal.

Expansion

Expansion is the antidote to contraction. Breathing deep. Relaxing the mind. Releasing tension in the body.

Letting go.

Surrender.

Radical acceptance (including acceptance of our non-acceptance ;)).

Expansion shifts us into a qualitatively different state, one that opens us to ease, flow, receptivity. A Tai Chi Master I met told me “The intention to relax is one of the highest.” Just holding this truth helps me to notice when I contract or tense, mentally or physically.

It is the only sane response to a world that is unpredictable and uncontrollable, and a mind that is chronically fearful and dissatisfied.

//

Are you feeling turned on, embodied and delicious?

Yes? Awesome.

I’m a wholehearted believer that being alive is a great opportunity to feel turned on, embodied and delicious (and I secretly think we women have a head start with this). After all, this whole crazy trip of being in a skin bag for a little while is just one big adventure – we might as well feel a good as we can while we’re on it.

Most of the time, I’m feeling it. But sometimes – when I’m ill for example, as I was last week – I can slip into feeling crappy. It feels gratifyingly justified when I’m sick because hey, my body is under attack; people should feel sorry for me and take care of me dammit (note: feeling (and looking) pathetic really helps convey this message).

There are however a few large flaws in this approach.

Firstly, I live with a mostly-absent housemate so there’s no one to feel sorry for me and my snivvely sadness; Second, it makes me feel worse. Measurably.

So there I sat, head filled with snot, sneezing approximately every 5 seconds with a growing mountain of excessively limp tissues next to me, working on a retreat for women that’s all about feeling delicious, and through the fog of mucus-induced thickness, I had a thought.

What can I do to feel delicious right now?

And there, clear as day, was the response: I can CHOOSE to feel delicious.

I can choose to remember how delicious it is to be in this body, to be able to move sinuously, to feel my muscles flex and contract, to admire the grace with which I can move, cat-like with smugness at how gorgeous it feels when I tune into my own sensuality, into my body.

This body that wants so much to be lived. To be loved.

That wants so much to be used to dance and move and play and explore, that offers itself unhesitatingly for this adventure of life, that works so diligently to serve me without ever asking for appreciation.

When I remember to really BE WITH it, when we move as one, rather than a head directing a puppet (the way I moved for most of my formative years), then I am plunged, effortlessly, into my own deliciousness.

And here, in the sway of my hips, in the curve of my belly, in the soft motion of this perfect, breathing, living creature, is healing, happiness, home.

//

One of my favourite tracks for inducing a deep feeling of embodied deliciousness (with a touch of the mystical)

 

There is no fucking box

I just got back from co-hosting the Lifestyle Design Convention in Zürich, Switzerland.

If you’d told me even a year ago that I’d be on stage, facilitating for 80+ people and introducing incredible speakers 12 months later I wouldn’t have believed you. Or if I had, I would have spent the next year flitting in and out of anxiety about it.

Why?

Because for the last 15 years I lived in a box that did not include being the center of attention, and definitely not being on stage.

Which is funny because as a young adolescent I was part of a drama society and was regularly on stage and the center of attention…..and I loved it. LOVED it. I loved acting, but most of all I loved making people laugh, and most of the stuff we did was comedy. And the extrovert, exhibitionist, narcissist in me fucking loved being the center of attention.

And that is still a difficult sentence for me to write.

So what happened?

Full blown adolescence happened. The arrival of the idea that how I feel depends on how others perceive me. The intrinsic knowing that it’s safer to not stand out. A constriction, a making smaller, a holding back.

Buddhism – or rather an immature and unskilful immersion into Buddhist principles – happened. Acceptance babe. Let go of your anger and judgement and be fucking humble. You’re not actually more special than anyone else (no really, you’re not). Hold love in your heart and be like a silent benevolent force. Wanting to be seen is a clear indication of arrogance.

Dilution, suppression, repression.

More and more distance from some parts of myself that I’d deemed unacceptable and unworthy of a “spiritually aware” person (vomitsalittle).

There is no fucking box.

A giant part of my self-love journey has been gently letting the walls of that box come down. Opening up to the infinite possibilities of what I am and what I desire, with love and acceptance (no matter how bizarre).

Noticing that no matter how much healing I do, the unlived parts of myself will continue to cause me pain. So this is where I’m at on my journey; healing and spiritual deep-diving done (TBC obviously, but right now I’m pretty much up to date), radical self-expression being amped up.

And that box has gotta go.

An interesting thing I noticed is that most of us seem to have a propensity for creating boxes for ourselves; as though that somehow gave us some measure of stability, or continuation, of peace even. I notice that as soon as I do it with myself (labels of any kind), my energy drops. Most of us rebel against being labelled and put in boxes, but the somewhat appalling fact is that we do it to ourselves all the time.

Happily, there’s a simple solution.

  1. Notice the confines of the box
  2. Let down the walls like opening one of those paper boxes we made when we were kids. Gently and with love. Set yourself free.

You might find it feels a bit raw, vulnerable and scary letting go of something you’ve considered part of your identity. But it’s the first big step towards radical freedom. All you have to do is decide to see that the box isn’t real and realise that you can move in any direction.

The only difference between me now and who I was a few years ago is that I not only am aware that the box isn’t actually there, but I keep taking steps outside of it (the shadowy walls are still there in some cases). And of course when I’m tired or premenstrual or thinner-skinned for whatever reason I sometimes slip into habits that align with the box, and that’s fine. But even when that happens, as it’s happening, I know I have choice, and I know tomorrow I’ll step out of the box again.

“Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains”

I read that quote of Jean-Jacques Rousseau at school but I didn’t understand back then that it is OUR OWN THINKING that keeps us in chains – I thought is was the world, society, culture, men.

Bullshit.*

The only thing stopping you from living and doing exactly as you please is your own illusional thinking.

There is no box.

There is no box.

There is no box.

//

*Mostly bullshit. Obviously we’re very privileged in the West in the sense that we do have more freedom from limiting external factors than in many other places in the world (especially as women).

 

I want to know

I want to know what it would be like

To feel you stand beside me

Have your arm around my shoulders

To hold your hand as we walk

I want to know what it would be like

To be pulled against your chest

Enclosed in your arms

To hear your heartbeat against my ear

 

I want to know what it would be like

To feel your breath on my neck

The air against my skin where your hand just left

The space between our lips before they meet

I want to know what it would be like

To feel your face beneath my hands

The texture of your lips, to trace

The line of your jaw with my fingertips

 

I want to know what it would be like

To run my hand down the curve of your back

To lay my head between your shoulder blades

To kiss your skin with my eyelashes

I want to know what it would be like

If you pulled my hair back

Opened my mouth with yours

Let your tongue create a new dance with mine

 

I want to know what it would be like

If, when we kiss, the stars explode

If the earth stops turning

If time stands still

I want to know what it would be like

For you to cup my breasts

Like sacred things

And rest your head between them

 

I want to know what it would be like

To be tangled up together

Hot, salty, sated,

Drunk on each other

I want to know what it would be like

To feel your weight on me

Pressing me down

Inviting me to surrender

 

I want to know what it would be like

To see you so turned on you lose control

Fall into the abyss of death

To wake again in my arms

I want to know what it would be like

To take you in my mouth

And let you feed me

To drown in you, completely

 

I want to know what it would be like

To wake up to your kisses on my thigh

The soft melting when I invite you inside

The sweet agony of unleashed desire

I want to know what it would be like

When we sleep side by side

If my dreams would be sweeter

And my waking gentler

 

I want to know what it would be like

For you to hold me as I cry

To let me sob and shake and sigh

And know you won’t let go

I want to know what it would be like

To feel your fingertips touch mine

So lightly that a hair could pass between

And the whole universe waits in that moment

 

I want to know what it would be like

To sit around a sacred fire

To sing and dance with God forever

To reach into the flames together

I want to know what it would be like

To wrap my arms around your chest

To press myself against your back

To pretend you’re all I’ll ever need

 

I want to know what it would be like

To release all my longing without you leaving

Without my intensity making you run

To know you will stay, always

I want to know what it would be like

To feel your hand on the small of my back

Guiding me forward, supporting me

Not needing words

 

I want to know what it would be like

To know you so intimately that I know

The pathways your blood takes through your body

The secrets the air takes as it leaves your lungs

I want to know what it would be like

To wind our bodies into one

To bind ourselves together so tightly

That there is no space for air

 

I want to know what it would be like

To speak without words

To know if the silence we share

Has magic in it

I want to know what it would be like

To fall asleep with my head on your chest

To feel the soft rise and fall

Of your precious breath

 

I want to know what it would be like

To look into your eyes forever

To watch you change and grow

And know I’m in there

I want to know what it would be like

To smile and see your eyes light up

To feel you soften under

The warmth of my gaze

 

I want to know what it would be like

If we sit together in silence

To find new layers of meaning

And ask different questions of God

I want to know what it would be like

To whisper a thousand prayers in your ears

To listen with devotion side by side

For answers, as night falls

 

I want to know what it would be like

To see the infinite, the endless, the formless

In the sun’s reflection in your eyes

To fall and lose myself in that

I want to know what it would be like

If you feel like a miracle

When I hold you in my arms

To let go this breath of waiting

 

I want to know

If loving you would make me a better woman

And you a better man

If it would change everything

I want to know

If we are each others’ medicine

If this love could save us both

If it could change the world

I want to know

If I could find God

In the white-hot flame

Of this timeless fire

//

To the ones who want to be Mount Everest

 

Time for a real one.

Being your own boss and starting a business is an emotional rollercoaster. Everyone knows that (right?).

When I fall into shakiness – and occasionally it can be high intensity shakiness – as I did a few days ago, I marvel at how it’s still possible for me to experience such a dramatic disruption of the deep sense of grounded calm that is normally very present in me nowadays.

As I huddled on the carpet in child’s pose, snotty-nosed and surrounded by candles that felt like little guardian angels, I realized something.

What I realized was – it’s just an earthquake. It’s the tectonic plates of the soul shifting, creating tension for you to grow and evolve, pushing your true self out into life like a mountain rising from the valley floor.

And each time they move, the earth shakes, chaos and destruction abound, and it seems like the world is being pulled out from under your feet.

But it’s just the mountain of your life, of you, growing, pushing up into the sky.

And it doesn’t matter which buildings collapse, which roads disappear, which historic sites are turned to dust. What was is irrelevant. What is being born through the destruction is what’s important.

This is the alchemy of soul expression in human life.

And endless cycle of earthquake destruction and mountain growth. The revealing of the inner in the outer world. The transformation of base materials into an exquisitely unique form – a form that will change the landscape, that stands for the beauty of emergence, and as an example of strength, courage, surrender and perseverance.

Each crack, each crevice, each jagged edge the telling evidence of our inner battle – the scars of living a life that not only succumbs to the occasional earthquake but that welcomes them, even encourages them; as entrepreneurs in the personal development field we are constantly testing the stability of our inner structure, constantly delivering shocks to our system. And often they facilitate earthquakes that wouldn’t otherwise have occurred.

Sometimes the earth will shake but the mountain doesn’t seem to grow. This sucks. But it just means that the plates are now perfectly positioned for a giant growth spurt and the next time the earth shakes a huge shoulder of the mountain will shoot upwards and reign majestically as though it had been there all along.

And that’s the thing about mountains; if we analyze the geography of an area and the trend of the tectonic plate movement, we can project how a mountain is going to grow. But there are a million variables that mean it’s impossible to predict how fast it will grow, or what it will look like.

The same is true of our growth throughout our lifetimes; we start off with certain conditions, are exposed to particular variables, and experience the occasional earthquake.

However: we have free will (pretty much the biggest variable in this equation) as to how we respond to each earthquake. 

Some people are happy to grow a gentle hill, grateful if the earth doesn’t force greater changes upon them. Others face giant shakes during certain periods that create impressive terrain.

And some of us want to be Mount Everest.

Those of us for whom the deepest shakes are no deterrent, who are regarded as masochists by most people, who crave the views from the heights, who are not born to be valley people – this is our path; to provoke the earthquakes, to shake and tremble and surrender and wonder if this time there’ll just be a massive landslide and we’ll have to start all over again (it happens), to keep pushing up, and up, and up – because for us, there is no stopping. 

We will continue to grow our mountains as long as we are here – and we will continue to experience the terror of the quakes that move the mountain upwards.

But with time we learn that nothing can be completely destroyed; that there will always be enough to build on again; that eventually the earth stops shaking and there is calm; and that, like an iceberg, our mountain already has a strong enough base beneath the surface to survive even the most terrifying destruction.

The growth of the mountain comes at a price, sometimes a steep one, but one we gladly pay.

Because we are mountain people – determined to share the winds with the eagles, and the glory and the raging storms that we find at the summit of every peak.

We are mountain people; the only way is up.

//

*Stay tuned for a mountain adventure/rite of passage early summer 2016 (sign up to the newsletter to be the first to know more!)