Originally published in the 2020 Conscious Dancer Newsletter
A quote from a Breema book says, “Ideas are exciting, but this moment is real.” When I first took the quote in, I remember feeling something inside me open up to know more. Not more about something that would necessarily make me wealthier or wiser, but more about deepening a connection with myself—and with life.
This past year has been life-changing. But why? What’s unique about this year compared to any others I’ve lived? When and how did a change in perspective set in? And why does it seem that our whole planet is spinning in such chaos, with looming questions about what is really true and how we can help ourselves and others?
I’ve been looking at those questions a lot lately. I’ve also been listening to what people all over the world have to say about them. Over time, I’ve come to realize that the things that give me real purpose don’t stem from merely waking up in the morning, checking off my to-do lists, engaging in endless emails, or staring in bewildered awe at the sea of social media comments and critiques. While the stimulation of these activities is meaningful in its own way, I have found that what holds real meaning for me each day is a real connection. That connection starts with me.
When I was in high school, I saw that I really had an interest in studying the body. I took my first meditation class and began to study dance, yoga, and the culinary arts. Exploring these three fields was life-changing for me at this young age. It provided me with a strong foundation to increase my understanding of my body, mind, and feelings. Dance gave my physical body a movement language to speak through, using form and freedom. It also gave me a way to examine my relationship with my body, on and off the dance floor. Yoga gave me a way of using my mind as a tool to support myself, rather than having it continually running my daily life. And the culinary arts have nourished my vitality and well-being by highlighting how food can affect my emotional state and feelings.
In many ways, these three paths of study all brought me to the same conclusion: when my body, mind, and emotions are connected, I experience being present and receptive to life. I need this receptivity to live from my full potential. I’m able to experience the world in me, and not just myself in the world. I see how I’m not separate from the chaos, but instead a microcosm of the world outside of me.
Fast-forwarding twenty-plus years to sitting here now, I see that another life-changing experience has been learning about and instructing Self-Breema and Breema. This practice found me much later in life but, undoubtedly, at the perfect time. Having already had some connection to my body, mind, and emotions, I learned about Breema as a practice to experience greater balance within myself and with life around me. The Nine Principles of Harmony have been profound in their support, helping me live in more conscious energy. Gradually, by practicing Self-Breema exercises and giving and receiving Breema bodywork, I’ve come to see that these principles weren’t made up by someone long ago. They exist in me, and in fact, as me! Here are some statements of how the Nine Principles of Harmony have meaning for me and give me direction for leading a more conscious life:
Body Comfortable: The body includes the mind and feelings. When they are working together, I am truly comfortable
No Extra: If there is something that I can let go of that isn’t needed in the moment, that is extra. Seeing this helps me to let go and be more available to life.
Firmness and Gentleness: Like the sun and moon, these two qualities exist in relation to each other. When I can experience both within myself, or in any activity I do, I know I’m going in the direction of a greater balance.
Full Participation: Every cell of the body, as well as my mind and feelings, can participate in any activity.
Mutual Support: When I give support, I’m also receiving support.
No Judgment: When I can accept how I am at any given moment, I am more available within myself and with others.
Single Moment/Single Activity: Like the breath, each inhale and exhale can bring me to a brand new moment, fresh with possibility and free from past and future.
No Hurry/No Pause: In all life activity, there is a natural movement and rhythm I can experience, free from worry, hurry, or pause.
No Force: When I’m truly connected to life, there is no sense of separation.
What if the healing that so many seem to be searching for right now really does exist through experiencing mutual support in our daily lives? What if bringing more conscious energy to our lives really is as simple as knowing that the body is breathing right now? How might life be different for all of us if we fully participated?
Participating in the variety of online Self-Breema classes gives me hope and direction. Each class is an opportunity to dive in and come home to and into harmony with myself and the world. I see it as support that I can give and receive in a setting with others who share a wish to be present and bring more conscious energy to our lives. Self-Breema is a practice that I can bring into my daily life when I need support. I don’t need to change or achieve anything. I simply need to open up to my own being and let go of whatever stands in the way of real connection. Living with more conscious energy is what continues to be life-changing for me!
Alexis has 20 years experience studying and teaching movement, including Breema, Yoga, and Nia dance. She is a Breema and Self-Breema Instructor in Oakland, CA, and also teaches online dance classes and private Self-Breema sessions via Zoom.