Treating PTSD with connected breathing: A clinical case study and theoretical implications

European Journal of Trauma & Dissociation

Volume 5, Issue 3, September 2021,

Extended connected breathing (Rebirthing-Breathwork) has been popular as a self-development tool for more than 4 decades, but has been subjected to minimal scientific research. Similarities between connected breathing and two therapeutic modalities used to treat <a class="topic-link" title="Learn more about posttraumatic stress disorder from ScienceDirect's AI-generated Topic Pages"

href=”https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/posttraumatic-stress-disorder”>posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and Somatic Experiencing—suggest connected breathing to be efficacious in treating PTSD.

The underlying theoretical model in these three approaches suggests that trauma is a result of the blocking or repressing of spontaneous somatic and cognitive processing. This study investigated the efficacy of connected breathing to treat PTSD in a firefighter.

Pre- and posttreatment measures consisted of instruments to measure PTSD symptom-severity, anxiety, depression and heart rate variability (HRV). After 8 connected breathing sessions the participant’s PTSD and comorbid symptoms were in complete remission. Subjective reports and HRV data-analysis support the blocking/repression theory and suggest a role of the parasympathetic nervous system in the blocking of spontaneous trauma processing. In this case the original trauma appears have been a traumatic birth.

POST-PANDEMIC REhab

Rebirth Your Life. Prepare yourself for end of Lockdown. NOW.  

A Bespoke Programme designed for you. ONLINE and F2F. Central London.

#REclaim #REview #REbrand #REthink #REfresh #REset #REwire #REgain #REnew #REcover #REvive #REhab #REstore #REvitalise #REplan #REsurge #RESULTS

MORE INFO Coming Soon!

 

 

BreathWork: one tool, five benefits.

This superb, informative article by Milena Screm, director of Insight school – Milan Italy, appeared on Gunnel Minett’s website in November 2020 : https://breathwork-science.org   

Hosted and managed by Gunnel Minett, she is a psychologist and author of books on Breathwork and Health/Wellbeing with over 35 years experience of Breathwork. She has mentored and supported my work since the early 90’s.

___________________________________________________________________________

BreathWork: one tool, five benefits.

by Milena Screm, Counselor Supervisor Trainer, director of Insight school – Milan Italy

Inhale deeply, then exhale slowly …

With this simple action you have made contact with a thousand-year-old practice, conscious breathing,  known as BreathWork in western countries.

Although we all breathe continuously since the day we were born, most of the time we do not even realize it, it happens automatically. Involuntary breathing is important to keep us alive, distracted as we are by a thousand stimuli, we may forget about it. However, survival is different than well-being. Well-being needs a conscious and intentional practice of breathing. Yoga and meditation, with their millenary knowledge, educate to this attention making many people familiar with their breath. In recent decades, also scientific research is validating the powerful benefits to mind and body that can be obtained by breathing with intention and presence.

According to Google, searches with the keyword “breath” have increased sixfold in the last five years. Many yoga and meditation teachers report an increase in client requests for breathing techniques in the last three years. The widespread use of mindfulness also encourages the diffusion of a breath culture, made up of simple, portable, versatile and effective practices. Whatever the person’s motivation, from well-being to awareness to increased vitality, breathing practices are a valuable resource and help.

It is also interesting to note that the diffusion of these approaches is no longer limited, as in the past, to circles of people sensitive to Eastern philosophies or introspection; a growing interest in breath is now evident and widespread even in the corporate world, where, more and more, the attitude of considering professionals first of all people is developing.

When companies take into account the needs and provide experiences and tools that foster the well-being of individuals, they have a return result in terms of improving performance at work.

Ongoing scientific research has clearly defined the impact that something as simple and accessible as conscious breathing can have on health and well-being; here are some of them.

1. Provides quick stress relief

Conscious breathing is one of the fastest and most effective practices for preventing and managing the tensions/stress of everyday life. A 2017 study, published in “Frontiers in Psychology”, showed that people who had completed a series of twenty sessions of conscious breathing, each lasting forty-five minutes, in eight weeks, had significantly lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, than those who did not. Cortisol is responsible for the body reaction to stress, at first to counteract it, but if the tensions remain, entering into a paradoxical effect that aggravates the pre-existing situation; high levels of cortisol can cause chronic inflammation and alter the functioning of the thyroid and pituitary gland.

These are the results of one of my business projects for stress management, carried out in Milan, a course of two full days, plus two hours every two weeks for three months; the data were collected three months after the end of the course:

– 44% of participants said they had achieved significant results just by practicing conscious breathing;

– 45% of the participants declared to have obtained significant results with the practice of mindfulness, which also includes conscious breathing;

– 11% of the participants declared to have obtained significant results by paying more attention to the body and trying to manage perceived physical tension with some body relaxation.

2. Breathing more slowly and deeply affects blood pressure.

A 2001 American scientific study showed that practicing conscious breathing for ten minutes a day, preferably with background music, is an effective way to reduce blood pressure without medication. Based on these findings, another study, conducted in 2015, found that patients with hypertension had a sharp drop in blood pressure after slow, deep breathing ten minutes a day for three months. People who underwent this research also followed a controlled diet and a program of physical activity.

3. It can improve the mood.

Twelve weeks of conscious breathing, for ten minutes a day, promote mood improvement. The scientific research that is still underway on this subject, indicates that an element that comes into play is the acid-basic balance of the blood. A constantly shallow breathing, in addition to reducing the supply of oxygen circulating in the blood, promotes the development of a greater tendency to the acidic component of the blood, compared to the basic one. Obviously, also the diet and a sedentary lifestyle have considerable weight in this aspect of organic chemistry. When the acid percentage of the blood is constantly higher than the salty one, there are cascading effects on organs and apparatuses: for example the body is more prone to inflammation; moreover the amygdala, a part of the brain that detects fear and triggers the fight/flight response, becomes more susceptible to stimuli, causing a tendency towards a state of tension and alert, which affects the mood.

4. Promotes greater attention and mental clarity

People who practice yoga and are trained to focus on breathing, notice an increased ability to stay alert and mentally focused. In fact, consciously regulated and rhythmic breathing can balance the amount of noradrenaline produced by the brain; this is a natural chemical messenger that affects attention and some emotions.

5. It can help in pain management.

In hospital, chronic and terminal pain is managed by administering opioid drugs; but beside serious illness and death, there are many other situations in life in which people are confronted with physical and emotional pain management. Conscious breathing has potential in this area as well.

Already in the forties and fifties, a lot of research was conducted in Russia over the possibility of managing pain, in particular childbirth pain, through conscious breathing techniques; in 1953, the obstetrician F.Lamaze introduced these Russian techniques in France and perfected them. Scientific research on pain management began in the 1970s, especially in the United States, through the approach now called mindfulness, whose practice also includes conscious breathing. Several studies have found that slow and deep breathing, accompanied by muscle relaxation and mental presence and acceptance, can reduce the perception of chronic pain and help patients cope with physical discomfort.

The potentials of conscious breathing/breathwork are many, they affect physical and physiological aspects that influence health; they have a role in managing emotions and moods; they can be effective tools of mental awareness. They are not “magic wands” that make difficulties disappear, but rather portable tools, always available, simple and effective, natural and precious resources.

Keywords; breathing, stress relief, pain management, blood pressure control, mental clarity

© Milena Screm 2020
About the author:
http://www.insightformazione.it/chi-siamo/docenti-counselor-interni/milena-screm    

Supervisor Counselor & BreathWorker
Founder and president INSIGHT School of BreathWork Counseling – Milan (Italy)

Author of fourteen books in psychology, published in Italy, France and Spain, among which we denote:  “BreathWork”  (1998), “Autogenic Training” (1989,2012), “Rebirthing & Water” (1994), “The history of Rebirthing” ( 1992 ), “Rebirthing, breathe for renewal”, the first book published in Italy on rebirthing (1989, 1993, 2011)www.insightformazione.it 

Tales of the Unexpected

Tales of the Unexpected was a UK 1970’s telly series that was a mustn’t miss weekly event. It told a different story every week and each episode was introduced by Roald Dahl himself sitting in a comfy armchair. Dahl wrote Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Matilda and other classic children’s books, but also became a master of short stories for adults, most were very dark and had a twist in the tail. And that’s precisely what this series was based on – the UNEXPECTED. 

And so is LIFE.

In mid July I had a few blips going on with my heart, low heart rate mainly, called Bradycardia which needed A&E attention. A need for a pacemaker was discussed but not carried through as more tests were required over a period of time. A week away from August I collapsed at home and ambulanced into a truly unexpected dilemma that was certainly not part of my plan.

I was due to be in Athens early August for starters on a 10 day break. I didn’t make it. Nor the Athens 10 day trip in October. The Universe had other plans.

After a few days of observations, scans, X-rays and the like I was whisked off to Barts Heart Centre in Central/East London for a more detailed angiogram examination where I was told I needed triple heart bypass surgery within 48 hours to avoid heart attack. Thus began almost 3 months of complications, starting with another heart operation 2 weeks after the first. The whole scenario became a lesson in powerlessness, vulnerability, trust and avoidance of projection, keeping it all in the day, hour, minutes. I am only just coming out of it, knowing it will take a while to recover fully and start a 3 month Cardio Rehabilitation Programme next week. Game ON.

Meanwhile in November I will be gradually getting back to clients and small groups which is manageable carefully paced, doctors suggest going back to work or other practices after 3 months, so here I am with clients already on hold booking in. Group dates for Nov, Dec & Jan will be up in a few days.

BESPOKE COACHING & BREATHWORK assists dealing with the unexpected. Coaching can unravel what to do next in emotional circumstances – loss of a job, a sudden health diagnosis, relationship difficulties or compulsive habits of escape – food, booze, recreational drugs or sex addiction. 

SOMATIC EVOLUTIONARY BREATHWORK EXPERIENCE : I have practiced and taught for over 30 years assisting those with trapped emotional trauma, shallow breathing, anxiety, depression and anyone stuck in a rut. Breathwork unblocks thoughts, habits and realities freeing up the body and mind to experience less worry and more joyful conscious living. You deserve it.

So do check out blogs and pages on this site for solutions, and how you can switch from panic REACT to healthily RESPOND to unexpected scenarios, learn how to handle life’s twists and turns more ably. Oh and have regular BP and Heart checks. You never know. 

Kundalini Ecstasy

I am one of the few Breathworkers in the UK specialising in addictions, including recreational drug and alcohol abuse, in fact TIME OUT London Magazine called me ‘CLUBLAND’S THERAPIST’ in Millennial year 2000 due to my clientele using club drugs like coke and ecstasy ( MDMA ).

https://www.talktofrank.com/drug/ecstasy

Not all clients arrive with these issues, relationship stuff, including codependency or stuckness in some way, is the number one problem.

Achieving a HIGH somewhere, is an example of success for many, a result, an intention to remove oneself from depression, life struggles or the need to ‘get out of it’, especially in tough economic times but continuous demand for entering an altered state of consciousness can create a habit. A second bottle of wine, a spliff to wake up to, a valium to get to work and a line at lunchtime to cope, are not unusual companions in urban Britain.

Having experienced drug addiction myself ( my last drink, drug and nicotine hit was October 25th 1982 ), all on the same day, not recommended without emotional and physical support, but I missed the HIGHS, escape routes and the RELAXATION of it all. So quick, so easy, so fulfilling.

Six years clean of all mood altering substances I came across ‘Conscious Connected Breathing’ while residing in Australia for 3 months. Then called REBIRTHING. I came back to to the UK and found myself a Rebirther to work with, and over the recommended 10 sessions to clear baggage, discovered ECSTASY in the form of emotional release and healing the body.

What a natural HIGH.

Ironically, this being 1988, ECSTASY the Love Drug arrived in Clubland and many of my future clients were taking it. Even now clients will often say “this Breathwork feels like taking Ecstasy”. With no comedown I might add, or the consequences of habitual drug use. 

I am blessed having Gunnel Minett as my mentor since 1994. Gunnel came to Rebirthing in 1978 and I started my training a decade later with Diana Roberts under Sondra Ray’s Loving Relationship Training ( LRT ) from America.

Gunnel has given me permission to reproduce sections of her book  the definitive BREATH & SPIRIT / Rebirthing as a Healing Technique published in 1994, including this chapter on Kundalini, a natural exploration of ECSTASY, so do give it a read and find out what Breathwork is about.

Kundalini

There is, as yet, no scientific explanation for the reactions which occur during conscious breathing sessions, or for what controls the length of the energy cycle. The closest we can get is to compare rebirthing phenomena with the reactions described in the various Eastern breathing exercises. So far, we have looked at some Chinese Chi Gong exercises. The other great area for comparison is yoga.

One major purpose of yoga exercises is to awaken the body’s in a life energy – the kundalini. in order to expand consciousness and reach a higher state of mind, the body’s own life energy has to be awakened and activated. According to Indian tradition, a person is not ready to experience altered states of consciousness before the kundalini is awake and allowed to flow freely in the body. The yoga trainer has to prepare the body and psyche to adjust properly to this expansion beyond the normal. The exercises of hatha yoga (physical yoga) and pranayama (breathing exercises) are specially designed for this purpose.

The word kundalini comes from yoga, but there a similar concepts in most breathing techniques. The awakening of life-energy is an important factor in the various physical and psychological cleansing processes. When the body and mind have been cleared of blocks and ‘impurities’, the person will enter a new phase where body fluids flow so freely that more life-energy can be absorbed. this leads to an awakening of the body’s kundalini, which in most adults is dormant. when the kundalini is released it produces an expansion of the mind, often resulting in the development of ‘supernatural’ abilities. This can include physical changes, for example less need for sleep and food, greater physical endurance and a capacity for self-healing.



Most descriptions of the awakening of kundalini are very similar, regardless of the cleansing method being used. The process can take anything from a couple of months to several years. One effect of the process is the experience of non-normal states of mind. These experiences go totally beyond everyday mental life, though they rarely result in loss of contact with reality or disorientation severe enough to be called psychotic.

Accounts of the awakening of kundalini have many similarities with the reactions observed during rebirthing sessions. Several scientific studies of the body’s reactions to yoga exercises have been published. Here we will not, however, go into detail regarding the physical changes in the body. (Those interested should see, for example, James Funderburk, Science Studies Yoga, 1977.) we will concentrate here on descriptions of the various physical and psychological phenomena reported from the process of awakening kundalini in various yoga practices.

Many of the symptoms and bodily reactions connected with the awakening of kundalini have been described by Sanella (1977). all of the following bodily sensations have also been observed in somatic conscious connected breathwork, and may occur from the very first session.

Experiences of expanded consciousness e.g. (visions, sounds, out of body) normally occur only after a person has completed at least ten sessions, and often at an even later stage. A precondition is the one should have cleared out a substantial part of biographical memory experiences. This normally involves having had at least one experience of birth memories. The examples listed below range from physical experiences to ‘supernatural’ phenomena, but they do not necessarily appear in this order.

Body Movements 

The body often starts to move spontaneously. The movements vary greatly from person to person. They can be soft, curling, jerking, twitching [sic] or vibrating. the physiological explanation is that the breathing exercise affects the cerebellum, the part of the brain that coordinates muscular movement.



Breathing 

So-called spontaneous rebirthing, with rapid shallow breathing, deep powerful breathing or spontaneous breathing patterns, occurs frequently. The practice of various breathing exercises may trigger and natural breathing cycle, which will normally be completed before returning to normal breathing. This spontaneous breathing reaction is originated in the hypothalamus, which monitors and controls the blood and its oxygen content. It does this by regulating the impulse to breathe. 

Cramps 

Various states of cramp occur often, affecting all parts of the body. They can last for short period or persist over a longer time, affecting mobility. States of cramp are normally preceded by fear or hysterical states. This is often referred to as tetany in other Breathwork publications and with an experienced breathworker as breathing coach it soon passes.

Body Sensations 

The skin or the whole body is often felt to vibrate or itch. It is usually described as ‘bubbles’ in the body, or stitches and bubbling. Sometimes these experiences are perceived as sexual, similar to pre-orgasmic feelings. A physical explanation is that this is mainly caused by stimulation of the sensory cortex. The vibrational sensation often moves from the feet upwards (the way the kundalini is said to move through the body). The left big toe is often said to be the starting point. This toe has a direct link with the cerebral cortex. (The big toe plays a special role in yoga exercises. Hindu mythology states that the holy River Ganges emerged out of the big toe of the Creator.)

Changes in Temperature 

Body temperature can rapidly change from very hot to very cold. Sometimes, this is purely a subjective experience but there may also be objectively measurable changes in body temperature. A possible explanation is that when the kundalini force encounters a blockage in the body, friction is generated leading to localised temperature rise. This affects the hypothalamus which, in turn, will have effects on the body temperature as a whole, causing rapid changes.


Experience of Pain 

Sudden pain may be felt in the head, eyes, spine or other parts of the body without apparent reason. The pain usually remains for only a short period. A traditional explanation is that the kundalini force becomes intensively concentrated when passing through a ‘blocked’ part of the body. People who resist the process with a subconscious wish to retain control over the body are likely to experience these phenomena as painful.

Light and Sound Experiences 

There are many descriptions of a wide range of light and sound experiences: colours flowing freely, illuminating or flowing from various parts of the body; voices, music, whistling or strong roaring or hissing. These phenomena may be caused by wave movements in the ventricles (cavities of the brain). This area influences the auditory cortex in the back lobe of the brain, which controls hearing and vision.

Emotional Experiences 

Most emotional experiences are very intense, ranging from anxiety, fear, hate, depression and confusion to states of total bliss. The negative feelings are mostly experienced in the beginning of the session. They are later normally replaced by feelings of peace, harmony and love, at the end of a completely worked through session. It is influence on the thalamus which probably causes these intense emotions. This area transport information to various centres in the cortex, in cooperation with the reticular and limbic systems. The latter has great impact on the emotions and motivation.

Thought Experiences 

People often report a change in the thought process itself. Thoughts pass through the mind faster or slower than usual and thought can even stop completely at times. Thoughts can also appear irrational, strange or unbalanced. These states can sometimes resemble mental illness, trance, impulsive actions or confusion. 

Distancing 

Another common experience is a feeling of separation from the actual event. ‘What is happening has nothing to do with me’. This can also be described as being outside, observing the events, thoughts and feelings. This is known in yoga as ‘witness consciousness’. In some cases, especially when there is an underlying imbalance in the person, this state may resemble schizophrenia. With the right type of guidance, it usually disappears rapidly and completely.

   Out of Body Experiences 

In this kind of experience one’s own body appears distant. There is a feeling of being outside the body and the person can experience moving to various places while leaving the body behind. This is a sharp distinction between this type of experience and ordinary dreaming. The person can actually ‘see’ their own body from the outside, and be able to describe places without having physically been there. This distinguishes the phenomenon from dreaming or visualisation.

Supernatural Experiences 

In the latter stages of the kundalini process a capacity for ‘supernatural’ skills often appears. The most commonly occurring skills are clairvoyance, clairaudience and the ability to see the aura (the body’s energy field) but other, even more remarkable skills may develop.

 

And here we are in June 2019 experiencing the kundalini of REAL LIFE

Gunnel Minett & David Parker with a selfie.❤️

 

 

 

Urban LifeClass Breathwork Coaching comes to Athens 27th April 2019.

Easter Breathe : Saturday April 27th.  4 – 8pm 

Venue : A Beautiful House in Creative Akadimia Platonos

Urban LifeClass is a London UK based Not-for-Profit Breathwork & Coaching Programme led by David Parker, incorporating Codependency Recovery, Relationship Reviews and breaking addictive patterns – including thoughts. Thought is creative but ACTION has more power, which is why we focus on affirmative ACTIONS not just affirmations. 

We also don’t use fancy language or special clothes, come as you are and speak as you do, we find this more authentic.

The Athens Team below are an eclectic bunch, inter-generational, highly creative, non-judgemental and as you can see we LOVE what we do. No team member gets paid, your monies goes toward 2020 when we expect the need for a larger venue and a bigger programme of events.

In the meantime we give service to serve you, so you can serve yourself, learn to breathe more productively and maybe support us in growth if you like what we do and the progress you make. All sexualities and genders welcome.

We have 3 INTRODUCTION WORKSHOPS for 2019, – April, June & December, with an Autumn one pencilled in, depending on David Parker’s travel schedule. You can read about him here. https://rebirthyourlife.me/globalcoaching-experience/  

All workshops are in English with Greek translation if required.

So escape from your mind into your body, feel lighter, clearer and breathe out stress with experiential Somatic Evolutionary Breathwork. Each Workshop is for 10 participants MAX, so personal attention can be given.

Easter Breathe : Saturday April 27th 4- 8pm 

Venue : A Beautiful House in Creative Akadimia Platonos

Read testimonials and blogs on this site https://rebirthyourlife.me,

sign up for this adventure with just 20 Euros for a 4 hour Introduction to Breathwork.

That’s all you need to do 

There is no sign ups or obligations to continue with anything after, we just ask that if you can’t make the workshop you booked or you can’t transfer your place to another – we hold the 20 Euros as a donation.

Loads of info can be gathered from our Team Members in Athens

 Organiser/Producer – Patricia Photiou +30 6949826260

Experienced Breathworker over 3 decades – Yiannis Vousvoukis

mob 6945 900 310

#breathe

Check out the URBAN LIFECLASS site too: https://urbanlifeclass.me    

 

 

 

Mo Haque ‘Cancer Recoverer’, rates Breathwork as a regular practice for healing and emotional release.

Mo Haque returns to ITV London News 18 months after crowdfunding for immunotherapy cancer treatment, sharing his incredible progress. He also shares an exclusive cover for his book ‘Choosing To Stay: How Cancer Gave Me My Life Back’

Mo Haque writes 

I began Evolutionary ‘Rebirthing’ Breathwork for the first time in March 2016, a time when my terminal cancer was growing and spreading, a time when the NHS decided against funding a breakthrough immunotherapy treatment for me.

Fundraising a total of £200,000 was a daunting prospect, yet it was my last resort to give myself a chance to live. With help from family, friends and strangers, we raised close to £190,000 allowing me to have a year of immunotherapy treatment. My tumours have subsequently reduced and 6 months on from stopping the treatment (May 2017), the tumours have been stable thankfully.

David Parker’s UrbanLIFECLASS breathwork groups have been an integral part of the process for me. I have been attending every single month which allows me to explore themes that I have been suppressing over the years, whilst learning and integrating new behaviours. Behaviours such as asking for help, receiving help, saying no, establishing and maintaining boundaries.

The sessions also allow me to make sense and feel the emotion from my most recent struggles and release any build up, as and when they occur. They also allow me to acknowledge my successes and encourage me to remember to do things I enjoy even if that means ‘doing nothing’, rather to purely just be. But perhaps more crucial is the learning that I get from hearing other peoples shares.

With individual work with David, I have also found that my creativity has flourished and opportunities continue to open up, since attending regular sessions, like writing my book; Choosing To Stay: How Cancer Gave Me My Life Back, published in the forthcoming year 2018.

mohaqueI have spoken in Parliament, been on TV several times and being invited to speak on various stages to share my story. I have also been getting involved with different cancer communities and charities contributing to publications, policy documents as well as attending Government meetings.

I continue to take one day at a time, whilst holding an intention to serve and share. The breathwork is a reminder to stay present and live in the moment whilst being mindful of the 4 P’s of destruction; Procrastination, Perfectionism, Projection and People-pleasing.

Breathwork practice has become a staple part of my monthly self care. 

For more information about the book visit https://mohaque.com
Mo Haque Book Cover

The Funeral of Diana Roberts

Diana was, and remains, our ‘Birthing Mother’ of Urban Lifeclass Coaching, part of our Breathwork Team

 

11am Tuesday, 23rd May 2017

Mass at the Church of the Holy Apostles, Winchester Street
(Postal address: 47 Cumberland Street, Pimlico, SW1V 4LY)

To be followed immediately afterwards by refreshments in the Church Hall to celebrate the work, energy and guiding light of Diana’s presence. 

*Please wear bright colours*

Donations please instead of flowers to

‘Royal Trinity Hospice’
c/o JH Kenyon Funeral Directors, 74 Rochester Row, London SW1P 1JU.
(Cheques by post or cash/cheques in person to the office)
Reference: Diana Roberts

If you are considering attending please let us know so catering can be organised

Judy Totton 07798 806079

David Parker 020 7388 3109 / codacoach@yahoo.co.uk 

6990370-cute-love-hearts-13513

https://urbanlifeclass.me/theteam/diana-roberts/

Brace! Brace! . . Flying High with the Universe. Breathe! Breathe!

13335954_10208989046461834_1654210280544506839_n

Words : Robert Beck

Ask any freelancer and they will tell you that one of the greatest struggles is not knowing where or when the next job will turn up. Working in theatre and performance, I am often faced with periods of extreme productivity followed by periods of very little work. It’s pretty terrifying sometimes and can lead to bouts of depression and feelings of not being good enough or strong enough blah blah blah! It was a period such as this that I found myself in at the end of March this year and I genuinely had no idea what I was going to do.

13238879_10208928531268992_7241278699584094363_nTo provide some context, the beginning of the year had been busy for me. January had brought with it a lot of performance gigs; February had seen me direct two shows, as well as mounting my own production, Prevail, with my theatre company, Plain Paper Productions; and in March I turned 24 and seemed to spend a large chunk of the month celebrating (and drinking…lots of drinking!). So that by the time the end of March rolled around, I barely realised that I hadn’t got any work lined up and my bank balance had been worryingly depleted thanks to all the aforementioned “celebrating”. I didn’t know what to do – all I knew was that I needed to work.

images-1I’ve done breathwork for nearly three years now and have worked closely with David Parker and the rest of the UrbanLIFECLASS team. Through working with them I have learnt to “trust in the universe” – a phrase that sounds very spiritual but is really just common sense. I’ve learnt over time that worrying about the future too much isn’t conducive to anything and can stop you from focusing on the here and now.

Yes, it’s important to have an eye on what’s coming up but the things I’ve found most useful for my life as a freelancer (and as a human being more generally) is maintaining clarity and focus in my career and life. If I work to maintain those two things then it doesn’t matter what happens in the future because I know, whatever I do, that I’m moving in the right direction.

So what did happen? Well ask David, and he’ll tell you that I fretted for a bit and offloaded some concerns to him about not having enough money to last me through the year and feelings of not having the tenacity or the talent to drum up more work but then I calmed down and I stopped worrying. I am enough, I do enough, and I’m worthy of the work that is given to me. I have clarity on what I want to do with my life and I am focused enough to go out and get it. Therefore, every action that I take is a positive step in the right direction and I have to trust that the universe will deliver in some shape, size, or form…and it did!

11215718_10208717353469679_7581717721461493015_nIn the space of one afternoon I went from having nothing lined up to having two jobs – one for the day and one for the night.

My day job as a schools outreach officer for The Shakespeare Schools Festival would improve my administration skills and my work with young people and my night job as a drag queen performer for the show The Gingerline: Chambers of Flavour would allow me to express myself creatively and develop and hone my performance skills.

The universe had delivered – and twice over at that!

UrbanLIFECLASS was set up to help people living busy, urban lives cope with the stresses and problems of every day life. The training it offers gives you a tool kit for dealing with issues like mine and for learning strategies for keeping on keeping on.

images-1Without the breathwork training and support from David, Mel, and the other ULC team members, I may well have allowed myself to get bogged down in worry about the future and not opened myself up to the possibility that good things come to those that wait.

The end of the story is that I’ve just spent a happy two months working two fantastic jobs, developing my practise and skills, and making some wonderful new friends and connections. Now the two jobs have both come to an end and I’m, once again, looking at a period of quiet. However, this time I am CHOOSING to keep it quiet because I intend to relax and enjoy my summer but I trust that, when the time is right, the universe will deliver again.

12974535_10208666932129177_2027884504200471924_nRobert Beck is a freelance director and queer performer living and working in London. His recent show ‘Prevail’ was part of Camden LGBT Forum’s History Month programme and is produced by his company Plain Paper Productions. As well as this, he is a drag performer and has appeared at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, The Bethnal Green Working Man’s Club, and various pubs and bars around London.

He is also the UrbanLIFECLASS PA and admin guy and has worked with David Parker for the last three years developing workshops and administrating the annual trip to Marrakech, Morocco. Follow him on Twitter @robertjamesbeck