At the beginning of my third trimester I started having full blown panic attacks.  They mostly came upon late at night, totally out of nowhere, and sometimes a bit terrifying.

One afternoon I told a dear friend of mine about it and she shared a breathing technique she thought might help.

I sat down in a chair, feet firmly planted on the floor, hands resting at my sides, eyes closed.  As I slowly inhaled, I imagined a pendulum swinging through my back, spine, heart, sternum, and out through my chest.  With each exhale I imagined the pendulum swinging backwards, moving through my chest, sternum, heart, spine, and out through my back. For about ten minutes I sat there slowly breathing and watching my imaginary pendulum swing back and forth.  Back and forth. Back and forth.

I could barely believe it, but this technique really worked and as my pregnancy progressed I found myself using it more and more frequently.

Phoenix was a very big baby and labor was long. Eventually my sack of potatoes got stuck in my pelvis and with each contraction both his and my heart rate plummeted.

I could tell by the look on Hansel and my doulas faces that things weren’t ok and very adamantly I asked the nurse to turn the monitors towards me so I could watch Phoenix’s and my heart rates.

That’s when I started breathing slowly and imagining the pendulum going through both my heart and Phoenix’s heart.  Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth.

After every full inhale and exhale I would peek at the monitors — my prayer — my goal — was to make both our hearts beat at the same rate.

Inhale. Exhale. Back and forth.

Next month Phoenix turns five years old.  He doesn’t know it, but I still swing the pendulum between our hearts almost daily.

Every time he hugs me goodbye to leave for school – back and forth.
When we’re cuddled up close reading a bedtime story – back and forth.
As I stand behind him and help him scoop the pancake mix for breakfast – back and forth.

I spent three weeks in Oaxaca in January, the longest time I ever spent apart from my family. Each night, right before falling asleep, I’d swing the pendulum far across the continent – back and forth. 

Back and forth. 

Welcome my friends to Day 2 of 21 Days of emBODY.  Today’s invitation is the heart and below you can watch a video of my painting process. I hope today’s invitation inspires you to spend a little time with this magnificent gift we each have — our one blessed heart. 


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