Take a moment to do nothing more than breathe. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. If you feel comfortable, close your eyes and repeat this process three additional times. Go…
If you took the time to actually focus on your breath, you just paused the world for 30-seconds. You said ‘no’ to your external obligations and said ‘yes’ to the internal needs of self. This simple and free exercise of self-restoration is often denied or dismissed because of the claim that “we are too busy to slow down.” In this written reflection, I lovingly invite you to answer bell hooks’ call-to-action, “…teachers must be actively committed to a process of self-actualization that promotes their own well-being if they are to teach in a manner that empowers students” (hooks, 1994).
Although hooks’ specifically addresses teachers, I believe that this call to action is applicable to anyone in any field. Collectively, human beings are overly focused on ‘do’ing and not as focused on ‘be’ing. With external expectations to climb their career ladder, obtain or sustain a certain level of income, and pressure to present as well-to-do, there is little room to address the internal demands to slow down and simply be.
Jasmine Ulmer, education professor at Wayne State University, promotes the theory of Slow Ontology. This way of being not only provides a ‘how’ to hooks’ process of self-actualization, it also supports my own personal philosophy and teachings. I believe that when we slow down to be present we are actually more productive. We are not dismissing deadlines nor overlooking obligations (Ulmer, 2017), we are taking a moment to be connected with self. Breathwork is one of those ways.
Are you ready to answer hook’s call to action but do not know where to begin? My solution is simple: begin with your breath.
Breathing is a simple act that we take for granted. But, how is that? Breath is a sacred source of life and during this unpredictable global pandemic, when nearly a quarter of a million people (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021) are no longer breathing in 2021, I argue that if we take breath for granted, in essence, we are taking our lives for granted, too!
Throughout the course of this semester, I will utilize my reading responses, written reflections, and life experiences to create a root chakra awakening workshop. The root chakra is the first of seven energy centers that run from the base of our spine to the top of our head. The root, located at the base, is associated with grounding. It is the foundation of our existence, hence the reason why breathwork will be an essential component of this experience. The mantra associated with this energy center is, “I am firmly connected to the Divine energy of Mother Earth. My mind, body, and spirit are firmly grounded, centered, and purified.”
In closing, this arts-based, eco-spiritual weekend workshop, offered by Mother Earth Academy, will embrace hook’s call to action and Ulmer’s concept of slow ontology while focusing on the power of breath. As a contributing member of this Social Foundations course, I am striving to create a foundation of engaged pedagogy that teaches to transgress while actively promoting well-being. In THIS moment, I respectfully end this written reflection and choose to do nothing more than breathe. Will you join me?
In through your nose. Out through your mouth. Repeat.
hooks, bell. (1994). Teaching to Transgress: Education as the practice of freedom.
Schneider, Adalbert & Cooper, N.J.. (2019). A Brief History of the Chakras in the Human Body.
Psychology Review, 15 (16), 21-27. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.17372.00646
Ulmer, Jasmine. (2017). Writing Slow Ontology. Qualitative Inquiry, 23, 201-211. DOI:
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 Mortality Overview. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/covid19/mortality-overview.htm. September 6, 2021.
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Chris Omni, MPH
is an eco-spiritualist, eco-narrative storyteller, joy advocate, and Black womxn's health researcher.