Spiritual, Travel, Well-Being
Comments 4

A near life experience in Calistoga

Traveling to new places gives me an opportunity to learn. It might be talking with someone I’ve just met or learning when I travel with intention to explore a new idea.

I’m a big believer in the connection between the mind, emotions and body. I’ve walked on hot coals in Chicago, practiced silence for a weekend in McLean, VA, and used the intuitive power of horses in Point Arena, CA. Recently, I found my breath in a yoga room during a wellness program in Calistoga, California.

I started meditating and focusing on my breath a number of years ago in Hugh Byrne’s mindfulness meditation classes in Washington, DC. Hugh is a skilled and inspiring teacher and author of The Here-And-Now Habit, which applies mindfulness to habit change. His weekly night classes helped me cope with a busy mind and I highly recommend him if you’re in DC.

This year I discovered Max Strom and my breathing practice reached a new level. Over 200 days a year Max travels the world teaching breathing techniques. I happened to be in California at the same time he was teaching a wellness program in Calistoga. Not knowing what to expect, I arrived at the long weekend retreat with some trepidation. Most of the participants were yoga instructors who had learned under Strom. I shouldn’t have worried because Max took time to instruct us individually on ways to open our hearts through breathing. You can learn more about his breathing techniques at http://maxstrom.com.

Max talked about a near life experience during the class. While near death experiences are rare, he said, near life experiences are much more common. It’s the missed opportunities that haunt people when they get older. When we get to the end of our lives, it seems we forgive ourselves. We know we did the best with what we had, but it’s the missed chances that we remember. I shouldn’t have worked so hard. I should have traveled more. I could have gotten by with less money and had a lot more time to spend with people I love.

It’s a good reminder. No more woulda, shoulda, coulda. I’m refocused again on a full life experience.




  1. alisonspinney says

    I’m with Max! I certainly don’t plan to feel haunted with regrets when I get old! (well, you know….. oldER.) I don’t even need to learn how to breathe properly to know that DOING IT is so much more valuable and fun than just THINKING about doing it. I’m so happy you’re DOING IT, too!


  2. Janet Mitchell says

    Thank you Margaret for this beautiful reminder to live fully and mostly simply! Love, Janet


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