How to shine your light (and have sweet lips)

Founding Mother, Chard & Stripes

Elizabeth Towne, born 1865, was a writer and publisher who for years had tried to be like the Son of God—Jesus—with indifferent success. But her life transformed when an idea took hold of her mind:

She was the SUN of God!

Before that revelation, Elizabeth was like a Moon:

Receptive; taking in other people’s ideas and opinions and getting her feelings hurt.

But as the SUN of God, she understood her one reason for being was simply to radiate.

To shine.

To send out good will.



I AM the SUN of God, as are you.

By sticking strictly to the business of radiating good will—as the sun radiates beams—we will find our feelings under control, Elizabeth says. To outgrow sensitiveness—which is a must to become meek and inherit the earth—Elizabeth had simply to remember that she was a SUN made to shine.

In fact, each of us has a sun within: The Solar (or Sun) Plexus.

In her book Just How To Wake The Solar Plexus, Elizabeth says…

This [our solar plexus] is a great nerve center situated in back of the stomach.

When this central Sun, from which all the nerves of the body radiate, is in its normal condition, it steadily radiates a real energy, just as the sun does.

Contract the Solar Plexus and you withdraw Life from the body.

In all human beings, who have not yet learned the law of being—essentially, our energy creates a matching reality—the Solar Plexus is in a cramped condition that prevents the steady flow of life, or “nerve ether,” to all parts of the body. From this cause comes every disease of the human race…

Nerve ether = qi (chi) = prana = vital energy = life force

And according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, …

Where there is free flow, there is no pain or disease.
Where there is pain or disease, there is no free flow.

Elizabeth continues, …

The Solar Plexus is a SERVANT to the brain.

Thoughts that are pleasant to us cause the center to open and radiate Good Will or Love. Every unpleasant thought causes it to contract, …

Non-resistant thought expands the Solar Plexus; resistant thought contracts it. Now do you see what a good scientist Jesus was? “And I say unto you that ye resist not evil.”

Indeed. But Elizabeth was no slouch herself.

She continued:

The Solar Plexus is the body’s breathing center.

He who breathes freely acts freely.
He who breathes deeply thinks deeply.
Only fear prevents free thought. …
Get rid of fear and you will need no teaching to breathe freely.

I can attest to this:

With my father on in-home hospice, the months I’d expected to be his caregiver stretched into years. As I became fearful that I had years more to go—and wrestled with the feeling that wanting my “normal” life boiled down to wanting my father’s death—my breathing became VERY restricted.

And radiant I was not.

Half breathing, Elizabeth writes, is a habit of the human race.

For males, that is. Females she said live on quarter breathing, because we’re taught to fear more things than men and are better learners. But for us all, she says, …

By practicing full breathing, we will grow energy, ambition, power, and joy in place of sorrow, melancholy, and fear.

And our eyes will be bright and steady and ready to look kindly into every other pair of eyes.

And our lips will be soft and sweet to kiss…

Here’s Elizabeth’s prescription for practicing breathing:

  1. When you wake, open your windows wide and lie flat on your back with no pillow.
  2. With arms outstretched, relax from head to toe.
  3. Close your mouth.
  4. Take a slow breath, filling the lungs as evenly as possible.
  5. Hold your breath as long as you can without straining.
  6. Slowly and smoothly let your breath out.
  7. Repeat this sequence five to seven times.

Alternatively, you can try 4x4x4x4 or so-called “Box Breathing”:

Breathe in, 2, 3, 4.
Hold, 2, 3, 4.
Breathe out, 2, 3, 4.
Hold, 2, 3, 4.


You can do box breathing lying down, standing, or seated upright in a chair with feet flat on the floor. Aim for 4 cycles in one sitting, but shorter periods are useful and can be done at your desk.

By practicing regularly, you’ll have tool on hand “in case of emergency.”

Box breathing can help us…

  • Cope with feeling overwhelmed,
  • Regain focus during a busy or stressful day,
  • Ease panic and worry,
  • Promote calm and improve our mood,
  • Fall asleep with insomnia strikes.

The “rule of threes” says that, generally, we can live…

Three weeks without food,
Three days without water, and
Three minutes without air.

And the activity we most need to stay alive—breathing—is also the one we most neglect and do “wrong,” or not in the most life-generating way.

Humans have been dubbed “The Worst Breathers in the Animal Kingdom.” But you and I are among the lucky humans aware that we have work to do to breathe better. This post is just the beginning. As our journey unfolds, remember that “Words begin worlds,” so please…

Don’t affirm, “I can’t breathe.”

Dr. Mary-Elizabeth Harmon is a scientist turned storyteller and Founding Mother of Chard & Stripes, a “school” of prosperity making and word-of-mouth marketing platform for businesses in food, fashion and more. Subscribe to her weekly newsletter here.