November 2010 in Brighton is where I first met David Parker, when he was speaking at a Convention I was attending. The Convention and his topic had nothing to do with breathwork but as time has passed, the link between then and now has become more obvious.
Our paths crossed a number of times in the next couple of years randomly bumping into each other here and there and we connected on social media. It was then I started to read David’s story and what he did/does regarding breathwork. I was nosey rather than curious and didn’t look too much further into it. In the autumn of 2013, my wife and I went to Malta where I had been asked to speak at one of them Conventions where I first met David and lo and behold, David was there. One of those ‘coincidences’.
We spent a lot of time in each other’s company in that week and I started to ask a few more questions about this thing he did. My interest had moved on from curiosity to intrigue and I started to think I wanted to know more and perhaps experience what it was this breathwork was all about.
I had my own ‘issues’. I’ve been in recovery from active addiction since June 2009 with which I had been battling with for 30 years and I had a lot of consequences none more so than my physical state. I’ve been in a coma twice, I’d had a stroke, I’d had the Last Rites read over me, I’d had pancreatitis on a number of occasions, I’d broken near enough every bone in my body, my right lung had collapsed twice and this was before I got into recovery.
Since getting clean of all drugs, including alcohol, I then had testicular cancer, I’d had a shoulder reconstruction and in 2014, I underwent 4 surgeries on my knees culminating in a full left knee replacement AND to add to the fun, I’d suffered a burst appendix in the summer of 2014 which I was lucky to survive.
I had also put on a lot of weight as I had been unhappily comfort-eating and although I’m 6ft 5, I was within touch of 20 stone on the scales. I was also in and out of employment and hadn’t held down a regular job for years. The experiences of 2014 were enough for me to want to change a few things. I needed a different way of seeing myself. My physical health (or lack of it) had become my identity. The first thing people would say to me was, “…and how’s the health, Scott?”
I spoke to David once or twice around this time and he said about coming along to one of the seminars he was getting up and running in Victoria. I went along open-minded and with no expectation on what was going to happen.
It ended up being one of the most extraordinary moments in my life.
I still can’t explain exactly what happened but I had an ‘out of body’ experience during my first ever breathe. I cried like I hadn’t cried since I was a baby. I felt all this physical pain fill up inside me, overwhelm me and somehow drain from me. I curled up in a foetal ball, I shook, I sobbed, I made a hell of a noise and I was looked after tenderly by David and the team and I felt, without being too dramatic, reborn afterwards.
I left the seminar, got a train from Victoria to Clapham Junction then another train to Basingstoke and then a taxi home and it was only when I put the key in my front door I suddenly realised I was home! I’d done the whole journey in a trance and couldn’t recall a thing about it.
My thinking DID change from that minute on. I decided my health was NOT going to be my identity. I looked at my diet. I looked at my exercise (or lack of it). I looked at my attitude. I looked at certain people, certain places and certain behaviours and I did a full-on spring clean. I didn’t fall out with people as much as I stopped falling in with them to begin with. I began to keep my counsel smaller and closer and started to look at what was important to me and what I wanted to achieve from my life.
I became a regular ‘breather’ and I’ve been attending groups and seminars with David more or less monthly ever since that first experience. I travel all the way from Basingstoke Hampshire to Camden NW1 and back for every session. It’s a 3 hour round trip on public transport, it’s the best part of £40 in fares and that doesn’t phase me in the slightest. Nor does the fact I get home at midnight and I’m up at 5.30 the following day for work. The breathwork and the coaching sessions prior to breathing have become an integral part of my continuing recovery. I’ve learnt a lot about me, what makes me tick, what fires me up and acquired great techniques to deal with life and what can crop up for me on a regular basis.
3½ years on from that first breathwork experience, I am now in the best physical shape I’ve been in since I was at school. I’m down to a manageable 16½ stone, my diet is unrecognisable from a few years ago, I walk 30-40 miles a week, I’m all clear on every physical front and had a Well Man check a couple of months back and was told I had the physical attributes of someone 10 years younger than myself. I’ve been in full time work since the summer of 2015 and this is the longest tenure I’ve had with one employer ever.
However, life comes along unexpectantly and I had a major accident last year when I was hit by a bus and I broke my pelvis and sacrum and was off work for almost 5 months. Albeit, I was in a lot of pain, I didn’t take any medication.
I stuck to the principles of my recovery programme and I used what I’d learned from David to work through not only the physical condition but through the emotional and mental effect this accident had on me. It would have been very easy to revert to self-pity and wallow in it all but none of that behaviour serves me anymore.
There has been further pro’s to the breathwork.
Pro’s that are completely unexpected and quite random. I have to undergo regular gastroscopy due to my various conditions over the years and this used to be time of extreme anxiety event whereupon I had to be sedated and it was quite traumatic for a few days afterwards. I now find this procedure, although still very intrusive, nowhere like that today be and I can breathe right through it even when I get a gagging reflex.
Given this is something I have to undergo regularly, the fact I can manage it with breathing techniques is an amazing turnaround.
I’m also a good swimmer. I always have been BUT I’ve always struggled with snorkelling and the like as I could never get my head around breathing while underwater. I can swim underwater but not to observe and enjoy marine life.
During a boat trip in Thailand in 2016, I thought I’d put on a snorkel and found I actually could now breathe and without panicking. I could see the life beneath the waves and love this new-found thrill.
Since then I’ve become more and more adept and snorkelling is something I enjoy on our regular jaunts overseas.
I’m now back at work, I’ve recently been upgraded with a view to a promotion and I like my job. I like my life and I owe a substantial debt of gratitude to what David has taught me, shown me and helped me with over the past few years.
Today, I’m very much more the me I always could be.
I’m a good husband, son, brother, friend, employee. I like me and that’s something I never thought I’d hear myself say. Thank you, David, for your continued help, support, encouragement and “…breeeeathe, Scott, breeeeathe!”