Here is an excerpt from the book Reclaiming Vitality and Presence.
Charlotte Selver - Breathing as Teacher
"Just as our heart beats, breathing can happen without effort, without being directed. The air exchange happens all by itself. When the exhalation wants to become deeper, let it become deeper. Don't direct it. Even the slightest attempt to breathe is unnecessary. It happens by itself.
Do you feel your heart beat right now? You may want to use one of your hands to feel it. You don't have to tell your heart, "beat." It beats by itself. Wonderful! My heart beats! Enjoy it! Here is is, a sign of life. You have no duty; it beats anyhow.
You can even feel how it's easiest for your heart to beat just by being peaceful, feeling the natural movements of your own heart which you don't create. How do you have to sit, for example, where is it easiest for your heart to beat? Some people slump and that's not easiest. Some people straighten up, and that's not easiest. Where is it easiest for you? Just you. This one person in the world which is you.
In the same way, you could be permissive to breathing. As I look out the window right now I can see a tiny breeze outside. Perhaps one or the other of you can see the fine way in which the breeze moves the curtain. The muscles inside are like that curtain, if you permit it. Like the curtain is moved by the wind, so we are moved inside by our breathing, without doing anything for it. If you gently give up doing it, you will experience that it comes all by itself. We should not be the educators of breathing. Breathing should teach us how it wants to be without our admonishing it."
I love the idea of my muscles inside being like curtains moved by the wind, the breath.
Christmas cards continue to come and some contain sad news. How could it be any other way, I suppose, when we hear from family and friends, sometimes only once a year, and so, I take in the sad and the glad, and balance, hold hands, with care.