101 Breaths

Nine eleven.

Those numbers, in that order, will forever mean something more than just two numbers spoken together.

It was early morning. I was driving my youngest daughter to school. We had the car radio on and the program was interrupted. A plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I remember thinking that something in the traffic control tower must have gone terribly wrong. Within moments, another plane hit.

I had been in New York two weeks earlier with middle daughter, Joy, helping her move into the dorm at FIT in Manhattan. Now I dialed and redialed her number. Nothing.

By the time I got to work a third plane had careened into the Pentagon. My cousin worked there. My daughter still didn’t answer.

Twelve years later, can it be? It’s over a decade, but still fresh, still a terror of the heart. Both my daughter and my cousin were unharmed. Many others were less fortunate.

This morning I sat in meditation. I couldn’t still the thoughts until one idea caught my attention. It said, “Take 101 breaths to cleanse the heart.” I gulped a lungful of air and expelled it slowly, tightening the stomach muscles until the last wisp of it left my nostrils. Then slowly, methodically, I counted each deep inhale and elongated exhale, one hundred and one times, remembering and letting go.

Justin Lane/Pool/Getty Image

Justin Lane/Pool/Getty Image

Breathwork, or pranayama in yoga circles, brings harmony to the body, mind, and spirit. My body knew what was needed and sent the subtle message to me in the form of a thought.

The breaths completed, I sat in gratitude, the heaviness of those memories lifted. I honored the losses in a way that didn’t consume me.

Once again the body has taught me a valuable lesson. When dealing with too much emotion…101 breaths.

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. gigicullins
    Sep 11, 2013 @ 20:46:28

    I remember that day so well! Reading your blog made me feel better! I had a heaviness on my heart all day just remembering! I remember how worried you were about Joy and how grateful we all were that she was okay.

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Sep 11, 2013 @ 21:31:15

      I remember I had a first appointment with a client in Kenwood that afternoon. I have no idea what I said or did, I just wanted to get out of there so I could keep trying to call. I was standing in the street by my car when Joy finally answered. I could have kissed the ground.

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  2. Diane Struble
    Sep 12, 2013 @ 01:24:00

    Lisa and her family live in NY – i n Manhttan. We were on the phone shortly after the first plane hit and saw the second tower go down on TV while still talking. Jamie was with her and Colin had taken Nick to school which was fortunately in the opposite direction from the Towers. His work place at American Express is across the street from the Towers and he would normally have been walking in the door about that time. Instead he was delayed because Nick needed to turn in a project and the person taking in the projects was having trouble getting everything registered. Col later thanked him for being late as it probably saved his life or at the very least, the personal horrific experience of being at the site as the planes hit.

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  3. Barb Garland
    Sep 12, 2013 @ 17:24:05

    Thank you so much, Sherry. love Barb

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