Jeanne Denney
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The Life Breath and Arc of The Life Force

Life has an arc. A form we can penetrate as pattern and movement. A gesture.

Goethe knew this and wrote about it in his scientific treatises (Goethe: Scientific Studies). Rudolf Steiner took it further in his work. It can be seen equally as an ascent followed by a descent or a descent followed by an ascent, movement I call the dual pulse.

Notice that at birth our first breath is an inhale and at death our last breath is an exhale, which associates birth and death with various parts of the breath cycle. Inhale plus exhale is a breath. Birth + Death = Breath Notice that even the language teaches about this deep interpenetration.

I challenge you to think of life as breath, as pulsation, as eternal rhythm of transforming energy. Nothing more, nothing less. The beginning is to recognize several important ideas that run counter to our normal use of language.

Life = Breath = Birth (Sex and the Physical) + Death (Spirit and the non-phyisical)


Life Cycle Healing

Distortions in our lives and bodies have origins in the disruptions of our natural biorhythms. Healing most often helps to re-establish these rhythms in body, energy and spirit. What is astounding is that our life cycle itself moves within us from moment to moment and breath to breath, including perhaps the life we have yet to live. Traumas, tragedies, shocks, unresolved grief, betrayals, abandonments, unsung losses of our lives, unwept tears, unclaimed outrage, unacknowledged fears, sit like weights upon the wave of our breath, our energy and the movement of life. Liberated, this force always knows exactly where it needs to go next and how to move. Much of therapy is helping this cyclical regulation to come back into the body, psyche and life. Healing with rhythm in mind not only re-establishes an inner pulse and aliveliness, it also helps connect us to things we ordinarily think of as outside ourselves, the breathing of nature, movement of planets and sources of wisdom, to name a few.

Finding the pulse of healing in the moment and sourcing the energy of the life cycle is vastly healing. I call this general approach Life Cycle Healing. It governs both bodywork, healing and talk therapy.

In sum, love and presence have qualities of stillness and balance, but are not static. They are creative experiences of vast movement and vibration, full of cycles, energy and rhythm. Learning to live fully in the movement of the moment, fully present for the gifts of time is where the richness and joy of life finds us. This is a great focus of the work of my practice in its many forms, but particularly in the understanding of our life situations, relationships, the health of the body and their vast interconnection.

Challenges of Early Adulthood:

For example, if we are in our twenties, it helps to recognize the fundamental tasks of this age: expanding into ego and body, partnering, forming an intentionality from our inner guidance and meeting life with heart all with a grounding in self-knowledge. This is generally difficult since our education and culture rarely give us the tools for the tasks of self-knowledge and inner direction.

Challenges of Midlife:

Similarly, at midlife there is a distinct task to allow some parts of us to die, to reconnect with life purpose, appraise what is unfinished and make appropriate new starts. When we fail to realize these processes at play we hang on to just the things that need to be allowed to complete. This generates crises, drama and sets up patterns of codependency that do not actually allow love to be at play (if this interests you, you might check out Relationship Basics and the Breathing Relationship sections).

Challenges of Death/Rebirth:

In another example, when we deny or resist too completely a physical death that is clearly coming, or the transformation of our relationship with our loved one, hanging on to hope through inappropriate or ineffective treatments, the precious opportunities for a loving and beautiful closure can become lost in a false battle. Often people choose the path of difficult closing because they simply do not know how to have a good one, or that closings can be just as full of love and expansion as any other moment of life. Indeed they are indistinguishable from a good new start.

What do death and dying have to do with healing?

In a word, everything! I have spent years sitting with the dying and talking to the bereaved. Nothing teaches about life in our time like being with death. Why? Because death is what the culture is rigged to avoid. When we go fully and courageously into experiences that take us out of denial we are brought back to our life force and to deep levels of truth. I do not work with death and dying because I am morbid or gothic. I work with it because it brings me to joy, balance and some kind of right understanding of life. It re-establishes life force and self-knowledge that is shut down by the denial of death. Death education and studies are feared, but profoundly important to the establishment of health and sanity. Through these studies, the experiences and learning of raising four children and supporting numerous births I have learned about the human life cycle and learned to see it operating in the moment to moment experiences and challenges we are presented with.