Robert “Bubble” Beck is a returning guest-blogger for urban LIFECLASS as well as being a member of our CREATIVE COLLECTIVE. When he’s not writing, he’s busy chasing his dream of becoming a theatre director on the West End. However, this seems to involve drinking a lot of wine and not doing much work… Follow him on Twitter @robertjamesbeck where he once in a while makes a profound(ish) comment. . .
Blog write-up by Robert Beck
The beauty of breath-work is that it allows me the chance to work on helping others, as well as myself. While I have only been on this path of personal development for a relatively short amount of time, the profound effect it has had on me is something I am keen to help others discover, especially within my age group.
I often say to people that those who are most sceptical have the greatest reactions to the breathes… and boy was I sceptical when I started. Yet look at me now, a few months on, and I am totally devoted. I breathe myself, I have done a load of reading around the science of breathing, and now I am beginning my training to become a fully-fledged facilitator. Pretty impressive for someone who used to believe that meditation and self-help seminars were for hippies and people who didn’t take showers.
Our workshop on the 27th of April was a special one for me because it was the first time I was allowed to assist on a breathe this size. The previous assisting work I had done had been small and intimate and I had been safe in the knowledge that David was always looking over my shoulder and there to deal with anything that came up. For a group this size it was not going to be like this. Having 15 people breathing at the same time meant that I had to be able to trust myself to provide that comforting hand or to guide someone through an integration independently while the trainers were off in another part of the room. While I was supported by the other assistants (the fabulous Luca and the gorgeous Catherine) and the trainers who were on hand should something big come up, this was a real learning-curve for me and taught me so much about recognising and appreciating the stunning effects that evolutionary breath-work and a bit of positive thinking can have on a person.
As is usual with our seminars, we began by asking ourselves some difficult questions, supplied by our facilitator, David Parker, that we may not really want to answer. ‘This is what I want to ACHIEVE’ seems like a simple enough question to answer but comes with all sorts of caveats like “but I won’t achieve it because…” or “achieving that would be great but I don’t have the time…” We all build walls around our dreams that stop us from going out there and trying to make them happen.
Similarly, a question like ‘This is what I want to LET GO OF’ can throw up issues where we recognise something is bad for us and yet somehow are unable to let go of it. How many of us have been in a relationship that we know is no good and yet are unable to walk away from? Stopping to ask yourself these questions and forcing yourself to articulate answers can allow ideas to formulate that you probably already had but have been hiding from. This is why I love this kind of work – because it is truly soul-searching and gives you that space to really get to know the person you are and the person you want to be. As a creative this is an invaluable exercise.
These questions also allow you to structure your breathe a little bit. While I’m not advocating trying to force emotions out when you are breathing it is only natural that, if you have been thinking about what you want to achieve and the aspects of your life that you’d ideally like to let go of, then they may well form a large part of your breath-work experience. I know the first time I breathed that focusing on my creative blocks beforehand meant that when I went into that state of being inside my own body I became acutely aware of what it was that was stopping me achieving my creative goals and what I could do to break the chain of me blocking myself.
This is something I have found myself explaining to people who are new to breath-work time and again, that while there is something deeply spiritual about the work which can’t be controlled or manipulated, there is a very strong scientific element to it as well. Rather than being completely hippy-dippy woo-woo, which I know works for some people, I prefer to think of breath-work as a practical tool that can be used to help recharge my creative self and reinvigorate my mental state. Just like meditation or going for a brisk jog!
So, to conclude, I seem to be reiterating something I’ve been saying a lot recently which is that if someone like me – and I like to consider myself as quite down-to-earth and practical – can reach a point with breath-work where he wants to use it to help others as well as himself then it must be doing something right.
Every time I assist people on their breathes, I am blown away (no pun intended!) by their reactions and am always glad when I can be there to provide a bit of support to those who are brave enough and strong enough to say yes, I want to improve myself.