11 Chapters
Medium 9781576756300

The First Breath

Crum, Thomas Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Hanford Park was unusually empty on this crisp fall morning. They left the car and Angus followed the old man to a little opening among some aspen trees, adjacent to a pond where ducks happily paddled about before they headed south for the winter.

“I am a small, elderly man, wouldn’t you say?”

Before Angus could answer, the old man continued, “And you’re a big strong guy. I want you to lift me up off the ground.”

Now what have I gotten into? worried Angus, checking around anxiously to see if there were any observers.

“Use your legs so you don’t hurt yourself and lift me up.”

Angus glanced at his watch. What possessed me to listen to this guy?

Angus was a good six inches taller and seventy pounds heavier than the old man. He put his hands under the old man’s arms and easily lifted him a foot off the ground.

“Thank you. Now place me back down.”

Angus did as he was instructed, wondering about the sanity of the little man.

“I was right. You’re very strong! Now I’m not going to change anything physically, and I don’t want you to change how you lift. Simply pick me up again.”

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The Second Breath

Crum, Thomas Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

“Could you tell me more about this breathing?” Angus asked Daisy. “What do you mean by breathing this strong loving ‘Mama’ in?”

Daisy turned her attention from the flowing stream to Angus.

“Well, I don’t know what to tell you. All I know is that every day I breathe in the ‘me I want to be’ and Daisy here still keeps growin’! My daughter graduated high school and is now enrolled in City College. I guess anything is possible!”

Angus took a deep Centering Breath. It was possible for Daisy to be the best ‘me’ she could be. She had turned that possibility into reality. It came from consciously breathing it in. Breathing! The second breath! The Possibility Breath! Breathe in the highest possible me!

It sounded wonderful, but he was unclear as to how to do it.

“What do you mean, breathing it into every cell?” asked Angus. “Do you mean just really believe and hope that you’re that person?”

“It’s not just a strong belief or hope. That’s just left up here.” Daisy lightly touched her head. “When you breathe it into your mind and body, you become it, you know it. Heck, you are it.”

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The Lift

Crum, Thomas Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Angus had a fitful night to match his day, this time fretting over his upcoming meeting with Harold, his boss. His conversation with his colleague Robert that morning confirmed a rumor he’d heard that his job as project manager for the new marketing plan was being questioned. Not just by his team, but by his boss. He had obsessed until he dozed off at 4:10 a.m., only to be jarred to attention by his daughter’s alarm clock, which he had borrowed to replace the one he had broken the previous morning. The Disney tune was on full volume: “Zippity-do-dah, zippity ay.”

No, this is not a “wonderful day”!

Fumbling unsuccessfully for the switch, he yanked the plug.

Angus rubbed his eyes and felt his tired body. He staggered to the shower and was drenched by a torrential downpour of warm water and cold thoughts. He stood aimlessly in the shower for who knows how long. It occurred to him that he was staring at his conditioner in his left hand, and couldn’t remember whether he had shampooed or not. In his next fleeting glimpse of consciousness, he caught himself staring into the mirror holding his toothbrush but unclear as to whether or not he had brushed his teeth. Only the mint taste in his mouth gave him some confidence.

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The Wrinkle

Crum, Thomas Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

He probably never would have looked at his reflection at all, if it hadn’t been for something his daughter said. He would have done what he usually did—go downstairs, get on his computer, and wrestle with deadlines and dilemmas. But tonight, while he was tucking her into bed, Angus noticed Sierra looking at him intently.

“Why do you have that big line on your face, Daddy?”

“What big line?”

“This big line here,” she said, tracing with her finger a line on his brow that extended down between his eyes.

“I guess it’s from worrying too much,” was Angus’s truthful reply.

“What are you going to do?” his daughter persisted.

“I’m not sure.”

He kissed her good night and reached to turn off the light.

“When I’m not sure of something I just ask my teacher.”

“That’s a good idea, Sierra. Now, go to sleep,” he said, closing her bedroom door.

“And my teacher says the answers are always there, Daddy,” he heard her call out. “You just have to look for them.”

That was when he caught his reflection in the hallway mirror.

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The Mystery

Crum, Thomas Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Angus turned the car onto his home street. He drove slowly, trying to actually be present in his neighborhood rather than rushing through it. The heavy snow made the lights in the homes glow with a feeling of safety and warmth.

His eyes caught sight of the sign he had driven by every day for years:

SLOW: CHILDREN PLAYING

“There might be some wisdom in that for me!” chuckled Angus to himself.

He pulled into the driveway, and took a long look at his home. He took the first breath, the Centering Breath, and felt gratitude for his family. He took in the second breath, the Possibility Breath, and simply asked, “Let the highest level of me as parent and spouse show up.” Then he took out a pen and added the third breath to the card on the dashboard.

When he opened the door, Carly rushed past him to leave.

“Sierra’s eaten. She’s doing homework. I’ll be back around ten.”

Angus remembered that this was Carly’s weekly yoga class and dinner-with-the-girls night.

“See you then. Have fun.”

He watched her as she hurried out. He wanted to say much more, but he knew it wasn’t the right time.

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