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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Practice, Practice, Practice

Crum, Thomas Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Angus opened one eye slightly, so he would appear to still be asleep. He watched his daughter twirling and leaping beside his bed, singing and performing a “wake-up” dance. Last night she had promised him that, instead of an alarm clock, she would be his “wake-up fairy” and awaken him to a magical day.

He felt Carly’s hand gently nudging him, making sure he wasn’t missing a moment. He wasn’t. Angus’s joy in this moment was almost overwhelming, but he held it back so that he could prolong the show.

Softly, Sierra danced high on her toes, in her little pink nightgown, chanting as she made her way in circles around the room.

“Wake up! It’s a magic day! Wake up! Get up and play!”

Angus feigned a big slow yawn, as good as any Rip Van Winkle. With a shout, Sierra leaped onto the bed and waved her pretend wand over her dad. At just the right moment, Angus growled to life and, just like a giant grizzly bear, he grabbed Sierra and then Carly, too. His girls squealed with delight, just as he knew they would.

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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 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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Crum, Thomas Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Angus reentered his office with determination. He sat at his computer, recalled the day’s learnings, and created a new screen saver for his computer:

The Centering Breath
Breathe in the present moment,
with balance and energy

The Possibility Breath
Breathe in the “me I want to be”
with power and purpose

Then he printed out a smaller copy—for the dashboard of his car.

One pinned to the inside of my brain would be nice, too, he thought.

Angus approached Harold’s office. Previously, whenever Angus had gone to see Harold he had been nervous, the kind of nervous that comes when you see a police car in your rearview mirror—you haven’t done anything wrong, yet you’re expecting flashing lights.

As he walked down the corridor, he focused on Harold’s door. The doorknob was going to be his new “centering cue,” he decided. He took a Centering Breath, a deep inhale, aligning his posture and taking in awareness, and then a long exhale, releasing tension and being present. Then he took a Possibility Breath, accessing his highest level of self —the “me” he wanted to be, without all his stories and excuses. He filled every cell in his being with the essence of a true team player, ready to do his part one hundred percent and to be the leader that he knew he could be.

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