A few years ago a physiotherapist recommended that I join a breathing group. She might as well have recommended I join a motorcycle gang for all the understanding I had at the time for why one would join a group centred around breathing. I understand (a little) more about intentional breathing now, to the point where I might even consider seeking out a breathing group, if such groups were not so obviously a COVID vector at present.
Which leads me to Ashley Neese.
I found my way to Ashley Neese via a Google search for “relationship with grace,” as I was trying to understand what a relationship with grace might be after a friend recommended that I seek to “forge a deeper and wiser relationship with grace.” The meaning of grace in this context isn’t self-evident, and so it requires some puddling about.
This search led me to Letting Go with Grace, a post that Neese wrote in her blog in 2016 about ending a relationship:
Nobody knows how to end a relationship. Even if you read all of the self-help books and talk to your friends, family, teachers, and therapists, you still have to navigate the conversations and the separation on your own. It’s your work to do, it’s your path to carve out.
The reality is, we’re all just making up how we relate to each other as we go along. While it can seem overwhelming to breakup with someone you love, the truth is, you only have two paths to take. You can choose to let go with an open heart or you can shut yourself off from what is happening. To end a relationship with an open heart is to let go with grace. This is the path I chose because I had enough experience with unconscious breakups over the years and this time I had to do things differently for myself and for Jason. I owed us both that much.
While the post doesn’t come right out and say what she means by grace, reading it provides an uncommonly deep insight into it nonetheless. It might not be the grace I need to forge a deeper and wiser relationship with, but it’s a place to start.
Ashley Neese also happens to be a breathwork practitioner, and although it takes some skill to navigate the language rapids of her professional offerings (“sessions are led in a safe and co-regulated energy field”), I’ve found the simple breathing exercise she describes here to be a helpful starting place for understanding what this world is all about.