Breathing Blue

By Kathy O’Dwyer

It came to me in a dream recently, the words Breathing Blue.  I knew instantly what it meant.  Every day as I walk I look to the sky and try to breathe in as much of the blue as I can, knowing it to be a healing color for me.   I know just enough information to be dangerous.   But that, of course, hasn’t stopped me from running at top speed these last few years which has been a good thing.  Not without challenges and obstacles of course, but therein lies the learning.

Does there come a point in everyone’s life when you sit back, reflect and see all the points and times along the way?   Those instances that seemed isolated in time but when you turn back and look, you can clearly see how each instance shaped you for just that moment and nudged you just a little to the left or right to make sure you continued on the path you were meant to travel.  Life is full of them and often they were downright nasty at the time, but from your new vantage point you can see that they were necessary.  Mini-turning points – I have had hundreds!!!  So many people I know can say with certainty and point to that one defining moment that was life changing.  Not so for me.  Every point has been small and not very dramatic and yet, the impact of each was as deep as an earthquake.   And the aftershocks keep coming! 

Massage therapy school introduced me to the seven chakras, those spinning wheels of energy aligned with the major endocrine glands in the body.   Intrigued, it took me some time to come to grips with the concept.  The spiritual and energetic aspect of bodywork resonated with me and I much preferred those classes over the hardcore anatomy and physiology.  I sat next to Celina, my 28 year old classmate.  Tiny and lithe, Celina is like a woodland fairy and radiates pink, the color of unconditional love.  Well versed in the study of energy, she was gracious as I peppered her with questions.  Eventually, I got them down.  The first chakra, the root chakra, is red representing our tribal roots and connection to Mother Earth.  The second or sacral chakra is orange and associated with sexuality and creativity.   Seated in the solar plexus is the yellow third chakra or power of will and discipline.  Surprisingly, I learned the heart chakra is not red or pink but green.  Later I discovered that there are actually two colors associated with the heart, green for the masculine aspect of our being and pink for the feminine.  

The fifth chakra is a soft sky blue, the throat chakra, aligned as you would expect with communication and again creativity.  The third eye or sixth chakra is dark blue and, like the sixth sense, represents intuition.  The crown chakra is the top of the head and is violet white for connection to the universe or source of all that is.

We experimented with energy in class, closing our eyes to see if we could feel each other’s auras or pick up sensations in the body.   Lucien, my teacher, kept singling out a few people in class who “got it” and he always included me, although I couldn’t figure out why.  I went through the exercises, intrigued and open, but struggled to pick up sensations as easily as others seemed to do. 

We were introduced to meditation shortly after, another new experience for me.  Allowed to just make ourselves comfortable, I selected a corner of the room by the window, plopped down on the floor with a bolster under my knees and a blanket.  A guided meditation took us down a path to a forest, yadayadayada, a typical relaxation exercise or so I thought.  My mind cleared and I wandered with the voice and music, totally lost in a dream state.  Suddenly, a bolt of electricity exploded up my spine and shot out the top of my head!  I couldn’t move.  I felt nailed to the floor as this electricity coursed and coursed through me and it was exhilirating!   My body weighed 300 lbs as I dragged myself back to my chair when the meditation concluded.  “Anyone care to share?” and Lucien looked straight at me.  I felt embarrassed to describe this orgasmic experience so I looked away.  As others talked, I whispered to Celina what had happened.  “Kundalini” she said, the serpent coiled around the spine that when activated courses up to connect with all that is.  I was hooked.

A week later, Lucien came to class with his hand wrapped in a huge bandage.  He caught his hand in a door just an hour before.   His hand was swollen and aching but he managed to get through his hour or so lecture before turning us on to each other to practice our latest techniques. 

“Not you O’Dwyer.  I need you here.” 

“What’s up Lucien?”  

“I want you to work on my hand.”  He settled into a chair and placed his arm and hand on a massage table.

“Lucien, I have no idea what to do for an injury like this.  I’m actually afraid to touch it.”

“I don’t want you to touch it.  I want you to just use your intention to pull the hurt out of my hand.”  What?  Energy work was interesting to be sure, but this was out of my league.  “Just hold your hand over mine and stroke the injury out.”

“Hoookay”  and skeptically I did what he said.  As I repeated the motion, I focused on his swollen hand and started repeating silently to myself over and over that I wanted to pull the injury out through the fingers.  After a few minutes of this stroking, I brought my other hand into play, with one hand above and one below Lucien’s injury.  I kept pulling and pulling as hard as I could, intent upon my work.  Suddenly my eyes widened in surprise as I watched the swelling go down until eventually his hand returned to its normal size.

“Class, come here and see what O’Dwyer did” and they gathered around and were as astounded as I was.  The next day I excitedly told my friend Carol at work about the experience.   She gave me a funny look and told me to keep this kind of stuff to myself.  I immediately realized that what I was experiencing and learning was not main stream, especially for someone who worked in the financial services industry.  I would be considered “out there” and could find myself “outta there.”  So I shut up but I still needed to learn more.  Lucien recommended some books for me to read and I bought them online the very next day.

The Ruby Room came up in conversation with Celina as she often brought in the crystals and Angel Cards she had purchased there for us to use.  At Celina’s urging, one day I called and made an appointment at the Ruby Room for a reading of my aura and a healing session. The Ruby Room appears to be just a storefront hair salon and spa much like any other.  But off to the side is a narrow door leading to a steep staircase.   At the top of the staircase is the sanctuary of the Ruby Room.  Along one wall ran the crystal bar with stones of such vivid colors it reminded me of a box of 64 crayons.  Books, cards, music and essential oils to meet every spiritual need could be found.   I wanted to wander and take in every sight and scent but I had my appointment.   Through the red and gold curtains to the back,   I met Laurel, a tiny woman dressed in a floor length brown, burlap looking dress, a sharp contrast to the bright brilliance of the shop.  Her graying hair was pulled back in a messy ponytail and she had kind eyes.  She told me her story.  Raised as a Mennonite , at the age of 5 years old, she was placed on the bed of her dying grandmother, the region’s Healer.  Her grandmother selected Laurel to be her replacement and before dying, she whispered into Laurel’s ears for almost an hour, transferring the healing energy to her.  I liked her and felt at ease.

Before the healing session, Laurel read my aura.  She hooked me up to a machine that ran feeds into a computer which produced a digital photograph of my aura.  I watched the screen in awe as the outline of my body came up surrounded by color.   Laurel explained what I was seeing.

“This area of white light over your head means you are in a period of intense learning right now.’  This was true as I agonized my way through the anatomy and physiology curriculum of massage school.

“What is this?” I pointed to a murky brown surrounding my left shoulder. 

“You have an injury there that needs healing”.    I had injured my left shoulder in a bicycle accident the previous year and was still trying to exercise it back to full range.  “It’s OK” she said.  “see this green around your body?  This means you are in a period of healing so what you are doing is on track.”

My root chakra was a firm red ball but my second chakra was a disarray of orange all over the place.  “You seem to be having some difficulty with a relationship right now.”  Jim, the man I was dating, was unhappy that I was going to school and he was proving to be difficult.  My throat chakra was fuzzy, but my third eye was bright and solid.  She looked at my throat and saw my scar.   I told her about my thyroid surgery at the age of 16 but she dismissed that saying “You’re kind of shy, aren’t you.”  And I shook my head yes.  

Last we looked at my heart.  My poor little heart was this tiny, tiny square box of green.  “Your heart is all boxed up.  You have shut yourself off.  We need to work on opening your heart so you can fully heal” and at the pain of those words I started to cry.

Laurel had me lie prone on a warm, heated table under a cozy blanket.  Drawn to my left knee, she placed her hands there and I immediately felt pulsations shoot up my leg.  I was flooded with a memory from the middle of winter in my 11th or 12th year.   The streets were covered in snow and ice.  My brothers and I were out with our sleds, skimming down the street.  Our sleds were the old fashioned wooden kind with red metal runners and a crosspiece for steering.  We would run, holding the sleds up in front of our chests.  Once at full speed, we would belly flop down on the sled and shoot down the street.  Only this one time, as I flopped down, the lip of my boot caught on the edge of one of the wooden slats and I landed hard, my nose hitting the center of the crosspiece, my eyeglasses shattering in my eyes.  Fortunately I had closed my eyes, but the tiny slivers of glass covered my face.  I had hundreds of tiny cuts all over my face and eyelids.   Blood poured down my face and I once again felt the fright of that day deep within my gut.

“I haven’t thought about that incident in 40 years” I told her. 

She said “your knee remembers.”  And I was amazed.

After the session, Laurel talked to me again about opening my heart chakra, while my tears flowed.  I kept looking at the photograph of my aura.  It’s funny to say but it broke my heart to look at my poor tiny heart – I felt like the Grinch only he had been successful in growing his heart.   How would I ever manage to do the same?  Laurel took an index card and wrote out her “prescription”.  

  1. Eat lots of root vegetables to connect with Mother Earth.  
  2. Keep exercising my left shoulder
  3. Dump the jerk I was dating
  4. Breathe blue.  

Breathing blue she explained would help my throat chakra, open up my ability to communicate and overcome my shyness, which in turn would eventually help to open my heart.

That was 3 years ago.  I saw Laurel one more time and she declared me improving.  I ate turnips and parsnips, dumped Jim and kept up with the exercise. Then, as now, I breathe blue every day and that has taken the longest effort, but at last it is working.   I am communicating in a different way, taking a leadership role at work.  I am writing.  After receiving my license in massage, I continued on to become a Reiki Master and pursue shamanistic practices to not only facilitate my own healing process but also to help others.  My life has changed and I am more confident .  Today I not only breathe blue, I often wear aquamarine blue around my throat.  People tell me I seem different now and instead of brushing the comment away as I used to in the past I simply say thank you.  I no longer worry about telling my co-workers about my extracurricular activities.   They still sometimes shake their heads and tell me I’m “different”.  But I no longer care.   I feel different and it is good.   

I know a lifetime of stuff and yet I know so little.  So it is my intention to keep learning, to keep experiencing, to keep delving into the aftershocks of life’s earthquakes as each one brings me closer and closer to something that is out there just for me.   It is my intention to keep breathing blue.

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