Maybe it’s this veil-thin time of year, death making the news, the anniversary of my teacher’s passage. Recurrent divination, this felt sense of spirit inhabiting us on the breath. Spirit moving us on the breath. Place hand to belly. Feel that rise and fall? Spirit inhabits belly, let it move your hips. Let hand drift to breast bone. There it is: spirit surrounding heart and lungs, moving your cage of ribs. Feel it entering nostrils, filling sinuous passages, releasing your neck, surrendering head to gravity. Spirit inhabits us, moves us on the breath.

And spirit inhabits us in memory as well, an imprint of those who came before. All day last Friday I was so clearly remembering a moment I shared with Gabrielle in 2008. It was the final day of my teacher training and we were both leaving Westerbeke when our paths crossed. Both of us were headed to Sacramento, she to visit her Mom, Jean, who had lived in my town a long time, though I’d never met her. We chatted a bit in the parking lot until the talk turned to her aching shoulder. She wondered if she might come for treatment while in town. I said yes and we set a time. I fervently hoped my space would be ready. Because when I left two weeks earlier it definitely was not complete.

Back story: after I sold the clinic in 2005, I was physical therapy homeless. I carried my treatment table around town, practicing my craft wherever I could. But in 2008, deep in this 5Rhythms training process, I decided to tear down my garage and build a place I could work. A place my treatment table could call home, a space I could dance and be on my mat. A room of my own. Construction was ongoing throughout that tumultuous year, sort of nearing completion when I left for that final module at Westerbeke.

Gabrielle was the first patient I treated in this backyard dream space. I’m ever sensitive to the way she blessed it with her presence. Spirit inhabits us in the memory. That day there were workers banging around downstairs but upstairs was empty and peaceful, the table graced the middle of the room. We had our moment together.

Before she left, she put in motion the longstanding relationship I had with her mother, Jean. At first I saw Jean for home visits, treating her aging body. But it became so much more. I played music for us to dance together, her hips sashaying as she stood in her walker. I brought her to a few classes. She was utterly worshipped. Jean and Gabrielle’s brother came to Coloma Center the night before Gabrielle died. The two of them danced with this community, shared in our closing circle. Spirit inhabited us all on the breath that evening and now spirit inhabits via memory. Jean joined the spirit realm a couple years ago. I miss her.

Take a breath or two right now. Attune to spirit breathing belly, chest, head, every cell inside. Trust the quiet. Seek the dark. Move toward the empty space. Make the leap: spirit surrounds us, connects us all, and, if we’re willing, guides us. Cozy up to the mystery; it serves to prepare us for response when spirit inevitably sweeps in and moves with us on its path.

Breathing with you….Bella