Breathe In, Breathe Out

Wisdom Tree at Cahuenga Peak

Wisdom Tree at Cahuenga Peak

Sunday continued the journey I agreed to take with myself early Saturday morning. I woke up around eight and committed my exhausted body to a hike. I popped into my whip and cruised on over to Cahuenga Peak for the Wisdom Tree hike. I won’t lie to you kids; it is one difficult hike. The path is a mile straight up the side of this breathtaking mountain. Now I don’t have asthma, if anything my lungs are much larger than most (verified by a lung x-ray when I was sixteen); nevertheless, I thought I was going to die of an asthma attack on the trek up. My thighs were burning and my body was like, “Abort Mission! ABORT!” haha.

Rest easy though, your girl is a survivor and getting back into cardio fit shape. I arrived at the top in thirty swift minutes, only stopping twice to really pull myself together and take a sip of water. There were a slew of individuals hanging underneath the tree, enjoying the bit of shade from the harsh sun. A few were rummaging through the journals, while others were adding their own confessions. To those not familiar with the Wisdom Tree, it is placed on Cahuenga Peak and beneath it are notebooks/letters filled with confessions, poetry and stories. I picked a notebook out of the pile and wrote my own confession before heading down the mountain. The confession while brief and concise, was heartfelt and well thought out. 
 Fun fact: hiking down a mountain is more difficult than hiking up – be careful not to slip, fall and plummet to your death down.

Once I reached the GeeWizard, I plugged in the directions to head over to Orange County to pick up my cousin, Aly. We had a quick bite to eat at her house and then made our way to Huntington Beach. (I told you guys I will always gravitate towards the ocean.) The next few hours were spent relaxing on the beach and strolling down the pier. We used this down time to catch up on another’s lives and just kind of shoot the shit as my grandpa would say. There is always a lovely mixture of heartfelt conversation and sarcastic, dry humor. After the beach, we parted ways to continue on with our evenings.

Huntington Beach!

Huntington Beach!

Emma swooped me up around five for yoga and breathwork. For anyone unfamiliar with breathwork, it is a new age practice which uses conscious control of breathing in order to influence or create a mental, emotional or physical state. It is often used for relaxation and decompression. Right as we were parking for yoga, something last minute came up and we had to opt out of it. I handled the situation as best as I could from Emma's front porch and agreed to attend breathwork because I felt my mind/body desperately needed it.

We began the class with simple introductions, a brief meditation to get into the right head space and then dove into the real shit. Throughout the experience we were told to think big picture, to not focus on one situation or problem in order to get the full effect of the meditation. I did my best to clear my head and create a clean slate.

Everyone collected a blanket + eye pillow and proceeded to get comfortable. I lied down with my body flesh to the floor and my palms face up. I began my breathing - two breaths in (one from the stomach and one from the chest) and an exhale out through the mouth as instructed prior. I started with slow deep breaths, allowing my heart to mellow out from the events before class. I created the picture within my mind, a safe space for my thoughts to roam and run free. She instructed us to follow the images that play in our mind, so I allowed the images to roll through like a film onto a projection screen.

I created my own Utopia, where the ocean’s waves greet the sand and the sand greets the grassy knolls and then transforms into land of gigantic trees – trees so large me and my ten closest friends couldn’t collaboratively wrap our arms around it. My big picture is adventuring around the world, whether it is solo, with a group of randoms, the love of my life or other individuals near and dear to my heart. Whatever it is, my soul thrives off of stepping away and submerging myself into a new culture or nature.

 The last thing I envisioned was someone so incredibly close to my heart hugging me tight and I lost all composure; I could no longer be conscious of my breath as the tears soaked my eye pillow. I am not sure how much time passed, but we were eventually instructed to relax our breath and breathe normally. After a few more minutes, we began waking up different parts of our bodies with small movements and stretches until we were ready to sit up and open our eyes.

The experience in itself was wild and a little intense if you ask me. The method of breathing felt like I was inducing a panic attack or at least hyperventilation. My body became numb and tingly from my face all the way down to my hips and my emotions rose to a whole new high. My heart slowed with my breaths and my hands gravitated to my chest throughout the entire experience. When I eventually sat up, my vision was blurry and I felt light for the first time in a long time. In that moment I thought to myself, “What a marvelous feeling, to feel light”.  I folded my blanket, thanked the instructor and headed on home.

You can either become hardened by all that happens to you or softened. Choose the second. Every day.
— Emery Allen, Soft Human