By Kathryn Sparks Carpenter

Let’s stop what we’re doing right now and bring our gaze into easy focus or, if we choose, close our eyes. Let’s put a hand right where our diaphragm is, a large, vital muscle which sits just at the bottom edge of our ribs. Let’s put our other hand over our heart and feel the rhythm that pulses no matter what and that we live by. Let’s notice the natural expansion that occurs under our hands, the way our inhale brings air into the lower hand and then travels up through our core to lift our upper hand. On our exhale, our body settles to neutral and then the pattern begins again. Inhale – expand – Exhale – return – Inhale – expand – Exhale – return. Can you feel us breathing together, in this moment, with creatures all over the earth, humming, teeming with life? Breath: a connecting life force propelling us outward with consistent generosity.

Consistent generosity could be a stance or posture that recognizes breath as a binding force, what connects us to ourselves and each other, freely given and experienced without any effort on our part. Mirroring this life force comes an impulse to step out in a direction, making ourselves big in the world, and then step back into ourselves, taking the time we need to rest or regroup. I step out, in a direction, and I step back to rest. Always I take a new direction, perhaps even the four directions, as I give myself to my world with consistent generosity.

Today is a big day in my life; it’s a milestone birthday! So I am thinking about expansion as a mindset, even as I breathe into my hands over belly and heart and as I step out in a direction, opening my heart to the world. It is a good time to expand even as our world has gotten smaller over the last 18 months. Why? Because, with consistent generosity, we make a difference in this world. With a smile, a heartfelt note, a hug for a loved one, a walk with a friend, any number of our projects that reach out in a direction…we travel around the sun together. Everyday could actually be the beginning of a new year and, with hearts listening, the sound of our breath, inhale and exhale, rings true. Join with me in amplifying this sound – for our own peace and for peace in our world.

 This practice comes from the body wisdom found in the InterPlay warm up,