On Saturday evening, Tom & I went to a breathing circle at the fire pit by the Evanston Art Center. It was right off the beach, & the weather was absolutely perfect. Bright blue sky, big puffy clouds, & the greenest green trees… plus a soft sand beach leading out to lake Michigan a few yards away.

So what is a breathing circle, right? I had absolutely no idea until about 15 minutes into the session. A client/friend of mine named Cindy  comes from Native American descent and she’s really into meditation, alternative healings, channeling energy, etc. She invited Tom & me to come up free of charge for the first session, so what the hell, we went.

We happened upon the most hippie-dippy group of people I’ve seen in Chicago… a couple of men, but mostly middle aged women who were either sporting tie-dye shawls and long dresses or had perfectly tiny bodies due to years of dedicated yoga practice. We joined the 10 or so people around the fire, and Cindy passed around the “talking stick” so that we could each speak & introduce ourselves as the piece of petrified wood covered in beads & feathers made its way into our hands. She then explained the breath pattern that we’d be using (in-in-out, through the mouth only); and explained the drums that she and another woman would be beating during the meditation, circular “healing drums” that had red patterns painted on them. Cindy passed around essential oils for us to put on ourselves; they were supposed to encourage our hearts to be “open to channeling the passion we want for our lives.” The meditation began; we were instructed to lay down on our backs and begin the breathing pattern. It kind of felt like a lamaze breathing exercise at first, but after a while I got sucked down into this odd subconscious and my limbs started to tingle from my fingertips to my toes. In retrospect, it was like a body buzz that took me on a trip to a tiny part of my brain that even now seems fairly illogical although frankly ideal. The two mediators (can I call them that?) came around and beat/shook the healing drums over each person and sprayed the air with essential oils (that didn’t smell so good when we passed them around at first, but in the meditation took on a whole new scent). When it was over, Cindy slowly brought us back to “reality.”

I can’t tell you how long the meditation lasted; less than an hour I think? Time stopped. I’ve never been a part of a meditation before, especially something based on such loose, abstract ideas – “channeling passion,” “being open to nature’s forces,” “being one with your life’s true meaning,” etc. But I’m always one for something new. Life is for living, yeah? The more I experience, the richer I become.

The weather this weekend has been so gorgeous! I feel good today…