As you may know, one of our main goals at Treargel is giving guests the time and space to Breathe Deeply. Allowing people to inhale and exhale in a quiet, beautiful, and uncluttered place is something we aim for every day. This got me thinking about the joys of breathing deeply.
For example, during one of our Monday Meditations (join us by email at any time) it suddenly hit me how amazing the simple act of breathing was. It literally gives us life, yet we do it so unconsciously. I only seem to notice it when watching a film about a character drowning. I empathise so much I find myself taking big gulps of air just to prove I can. As I sat in silence that Monday, taking time to think about my breath, it somehow tasted sweeter in my mouth.
I don't know about you, but whenever I hug my dog Neo (or my teenage girls) I subconsciously breathe in deeply. Like the one in 'Friends' where Ross smells Rachel's hair. I also try to stop when passing my roses and give them a sniff, before rushing on. Apparently, this intake is great, as it releases endorphins, great for boosting mood and mental health.
In the Jewish tradition, the letters that represent the name of God YHWH (too holy to name out loud) can also be expressed as inhaling (YAH) and exhaling (WEH). Fantastic that simply breathing can be a prayer. Great for any of us who are too tired, depleted, or no longer have the words.
A song I have been listening to recently by Gungor, claims "Every breath is give and take" and I wonder what this means? Perhaps that every breath is a small capsule of our whole life, as we are constantly giving and taking of each other and of the world. That this breathing in and out, receiving humbly and giving generously, is what it means to be part of humanity, to belong and be alive.
When my eldest was born, Martyn and I were both very relieved (a huge understatement) when she took her first breath. Due to complications, we had had 4 anxious months of wondering if she would. Walking around our local, largely Victorian, graveyard yesterday with Neo, I notice this initial gasp was not to be assumed back then. What a miracle that first breath is for every baby, then and now, here and all around the world.
This year I have been trying to figure out the nature of this life-giving breath and where it comes from. I feel there is something special about it (funnily enough). What was the spark, that first breath that made the universe as we know it now? From myriad separate chemicals, to something more than the sum of its parts. From primordial soup how did we get to; courageous love, laughter, and of course, sublime dark chocolate? By the way, all three great for boosting those lovely endorphins.
So, enjoy taking some deep deep breaths today.
If you have time, come and visit us for some prolonged breathing and resting, we have lots of space to book next year. If money is an issue, don't forget about our NHS bursary (available till December) or our ordinary Bursary, which has now gone up to half the fee or up to £200. We will also be doing a free week at the end of March for those who wish to do some meditative gardening or painting, book early for a place.
Meanwhile, take 5 minutes to retreat now, in the comfort of your own home;
Sit comfortably, and listen to your breathing, in and out, inhaling slightly deeper for a few breaths. Hear the sounds around you.
Note (without judgement) any anxieties your mind keeps wandering towards. Let them go.
If one particular anxiety seems to dominate, perhaps lean into it for a while.
Acknowledge if you can, where it is located in your body and listen to its voice.
Imagine taking it in your hands, opening them and offering it out.
Breathing deeply over it or blowing it away with your almighty, powerful, and life-giving breath.
I'm not saying you can blow your troubles away. But we can choose to let them go for a while.
Continue to notice how sweet it is, just to breathe.
You said, We did
We love your feedback, this is how we improve and make Treargel an even better place.
So, you asked us for;
more light down at the Hermitage - we chopped down some branches
less light in the cabin at night - we put in thick curtains
somewhere to hang your bathing towels - we put up a washing line
a place to hang your hat and a way to keep your feet warm on the tiles in the Piggery - we added hooks and a lovely big red rug
a place for 2 single friends to sleep - we bought a new bed that can either be two singles or one huge double in the Byre
Plus, we now give you on arrival homemade bread and bottles of milk from our milkman
So, from us at Treargel, I hope you can find some space to breathe deeply, rest quietly and think clearly today.