Reiki has been life-giving for me. By the time I began training in reiki, I had been studying “ologies” for a long time. I KNEW a lot of things and knew what kind of life felt open-hearted to me. I was already a guide to others. Reiki helped me heal the trauma that was still in my body, and in the case of this article, my heart. Reiki offered energetic healing for me, and through it, I healed the emotional pain still in my physical cells.
The heart chakra is breath—lungs … our beautiful breath. As singers, there’s a lot of emphasis placed on support, which in energetic terms is the first through third chakras, as well as most of the ribs and inter-costal muscles (heart chakra). Support is marvelous and necessary. But we often overlook the literal air traveling into our lungs. Over the years, I’ve studied with many teachers and learned their breathing/support modalities. I have learned to let my ribs stay out with breath, I’ve learned to let them in with the breath, I’ve learned to breathe very little in order to keep the vocal cords together. I’ve learned to back breathe, I’ve learned to front breathe, nose breathe, mouth breathe, and belly breathe. At this point in my technical evolution as a singer, I DO use a particular form of breath/support, completely different than in the past. Like everyone else, I have definite opinions about optimal breath for vocal production.
What I HAVE also noticed in the past few years, is that we rarely speak about the actual lungs. We’re very concerned about breath management—and rightly so. Being a stage performer requires efficient breath management to have any hope of onstage success. BUT—the anatomical fact of the matter is that the lungs are where breath is. We feel movement from the breath in many places, but the lungs are WHERE THE BREATH IS.
To make a big intuitive jump, the lungs are one of the main organs in the heart chakra (besides the physical heart, that is). When we breathe, we activate the heart chakra, which, if you’ll take a few more intuitive jumps with me, means that we are activating embodied love. Taking a breath energetically activates your love—because the lungs are within the heart chakra, and the heart chakra stands for love. Furthermore, because breathing activates your love, breathing also activates safety. We are safe within the space of authentic love. Those are big intuitive jumps I made. Therefore, as singers (or people who speak, which means the large majority of people), it’s enormously important to use the lungs (i.e. breath) when you speak or sing. The literal breath is important to breath management. If you don’t use your lungs, you are energetically expressing yourself without love (for example, those times we speak too fast and have to gulp for air).
What act I can take today to breathe, and therefore to embody breath and love? If I embody love within myself, I gift myself (and the world) with the physical expansion and security of breath, a beautiful way to embody love. If I truly and consciously love myself (knowing that I am the one primarily responsible to treat myself with love—and to heal the areas within me that still exist in shame), then how can I treat others with anything except love?
As current (and past) events show, racism cannot exist in a world of love–it’s the opposite of love. If we are to have hope of living in a loving world, systemic racism MUST be dismantled. Any societal structures that push down members of a particular race are THE OPPOSITE OF LOVE.
I took a long personal journey to heal the excessive words and shaming actions that held me away from my own sense of love and breath. What I have found is that the energy of breath, the energy of love, is the most powerful energy there is. Six months after I began studying reiki and practicing ho’oponopono, I drove to Florida to spend the Christmas holidays with my parents. By this time, I had cleared much of the trauma in the relationship with my mother. She was never going to approve of me (and honestly, I was never going to approve of her), and I had to accept that our having different ideas and beliefs is what it is. She was my mother, and I loved her.
However, my last evening there, she asked me if she had created a hostile and extraneously harsh environment for me as a child. I told her “yes,” and we spent two hours discussing the situation in depth. She and I reconciled. I felt shocked all the way to my little toes. We still didn’t agree, and honestly, not much changed before she died 1 ½ years later.
But we reconciled. A woman I had judged and condemned in my mind—my mom—came to me admitting her wrong and asking for grace. “Can you forgive me?” she said. Could I forgive her? Could I forgive her hostility, unfairness, and condemnation of me? Could I reconcile with her? I took time to answer, to go through the process. To this day, I experience moments of anger and shame.
But I am forever glad I forgave her. I embrace and enjoy the lightness of my heart because I chose to forgive her, and I continue in hope that those I’ve wronged will in return, forgive me. While she was large in my life because of her position, at the end of the day, my heart—that space of safety, breath, and truth within me—was transformed by the power of grace. The more breath I allow, the more love I feel. The more love I feel, the more breath I allow.
Finally, both true vulnerability and true compassion require traveling all the way through a process. In order to experience authentic grace and forgiveness, I didn’t get to cut corners on either the experience of being deeply wronged or the experience of forgiving. Receiving the gift of a full vulnerable experience opened the waters of compassion in my soul. This is power. In a world where vulnerability is often viewed as weak, I encourage us all to re-frame our views of what true embodied power and compassion are. I have found as an artist, that the more vulnerable and aligned I feel in my body, the more compassion in my voice, and the more moving to the hearts of an audience.
Are there pathways in your life in which you see embodied love calling you home to your heart space? My personal journey to a safe and open heart continues to this day and is my unique pathway. What of yours? What is your experience?
Are you taking time breathe in your life? The lungs, the respiratory system, and the emotional/energetic technology of love go hand in hand. I encourage us all to remember moment by moment to receive the beautiful breath of life.
P.S.– Please let me know if this is confusing or if you require more explanation of these ideas. The heart chakra is a big subject!! I would enjoy hearing some of your heart experiences.
P.P.S.–In part three of the heart chakra blog, I will round out the discussion of my family of origin by reflecting on my appreciation for them. It’s fascinating to recognize both the layers of disfunction and magnificence within the same family. See you soon!
2 Comments Add yours
Hi Jillian, beautiful and clearly articulated even for a novice breathe worker like myself. I do wonder if the use of the hyphen in dis-functional was intentional or simply a function of the format you are typing in? That last sentence was piercingly familiar to me.
Sending an exhalation filled with appreciation for you.
All the best
Hi Shelley, thank you for the feedback and for taking time to read my article! It’s an honor :).
Honestly, I don’t remember why I spelled disfunction that way. It may indeed be a grammatical mistake, so I will fix it. It’s been many months since I wrote that particular blog–took a while to feel the time was right to share. I’m happy if it’s of service to you. Love to you and your family!