Ella And Her Magic Bubbles

Nicole Breanne

© Copyright 2009 by Nicole Breanne

Photo of a baby blowing bubbles.

In the middle of trendy Abu Dhabi, at a beer garden I found peace and tranqulity through the haze of bubbles and the eyes of a beautiful 18-month old girl. Ella, which in Greek means torch, but to me it means the light that led me to peace.

To learn meditation you can buy books, you can find an instructor, spend time with a yogi, a Buddhist monk, a Meditation Master, visit the Dali Lama, or Deepak Chopra. You can get accoutrements, the beads, the mat, the incense, the gong to center your senses; you can sit properly, align your spine, find and repeat your mantra. You can study the different religions that practice meditation:

 Bahá’í Faith- Meditates daily by engaging in ablutions, (washing/purification) then by  repeating the Arabic phrase Alláhu Abhá 95 times, which translates to “God is Most Glorious”.

Buddhism- Theravada emphasizes mindfulness, while Vipassana focuses on breathing and the repetition of respirations.

Christianity- Mediates on the rosary, saying prayers on certain beads a certain number of times.

Hinduism- Focuses on a “yoga” style, sit, focus, and picture enlightenment.

Islam- Muslims as obliged to pray at least five times a day, during prayer Muslims focus and mediate on God by reciting the Qur’an.

Judaism-Mental visualizations or analytical reflective processes of making yourself understand mystical concept well called “hitbodedut”

New Age- Mostly practiced by the hippies of the 60’s and 70’s a technique of blanking out the mind and releasing oneself from conscious thinking. Repeating mantras, breathing, and controlling your mind.

Sikhism- Encourages quite meditations. Focusing one’s attention on the attributes of God, aligning the 10 “chakras”.

Taoism- Practices stillness in movement. A state of mental calm and mediation in the tai chi form.

Just writing that has made me exhausted. While it may work for some people, I found a much simpler, and in my opinion purer form of mediation. Which brings me to my instructor, an 18-month old girl called Ella. She taught me in the middle of Abu Dhabi, at a beer garden.

I was recently on vacation; I was out with friends and their little girl Ella. We had all gone out to The Beer Garden in trendy Abu Dhabi, where I was visiting. As the adults sat around talking, drinking, having snacks, the kids ran around playing with giant blown-up beach balls. When Ella grew tired of this she came over to her Mother who provided her with a bottle of bubbles, which seems to be a staple in every parents diaper bag.

Anyone that’s been around any child that holds bubbles in their hands has seen pure, innocent, unadulterated joy. It’s just soap in a bottle but man, they love it.  Ella’s Mom and Dad took turns blowing bubbles in her direction as she giggled and cheerfully chased after them. All of us at the table, and our surrounding tables laughed along. There is something completely infectious about a child’s laughter. At one point Ella took the bottle herself, and being 18 months old shook it violently, which then made blowing a bubble through the wand almost impossible. “Daddy!!” she cooed handing him the bottle--translation, “this is broken fix it.” When he was unable she turned to Mom, who had better luck blowing smaller bubbles but still not enough to satisfy an 18-month old. Then she turned to me, desperate; maybe this new person had special powers and could fix my bubbles!!

I took the bottle in my hand; I unscrewed the lid, removed the wand and saw all the tiny clusters of bubbles formed on the wand. There was no way I could get a bubble out of this mess; the soap was too agitated from its earlier disturbance. I looked from the wand to Ella, two and a half feet of perfection, her tan skin, her big brown doe eyes, her pouty lips and wispy hair blowing in the breeze. Staring so hard at the wand like maybe she could use “the force” to make the bubbles work.

So I took a deep breath and focused. Slowly I pushed a steady, calm breath through the wand and watched as a bubble began to form. Through the iridescent surface I saw Ella’s face. Her eyes grew even bigger, which I didn’t think could be possible and she smiled.

Nothing else mattered in that moment. There was no one else in that location, there was no other sound, and there was stillness. There was me, Ella, and a bottle of bubbles. My attention was on my breath, placing it in the space between the circle of the wand, my goal was simple--make a bubble, make Ella smile.

The goal of meditation is calmness, joy, and enlightenment. I found all of that in a matter of moments. I still continue to practice what I call “Bubble Meditation.” When I'm overwhelmed, when I’m sad, when I want to shout at the world, I grab a bottle of bubbles. I pick up the wand and I focus my breath, I make a perfect bubble, sometimes I keep blowing and fill my small area with thousands of little globes. I stare at their colors and try to see how many I can find before they burst…yellow, blue, green, indigo, violet SPLAT! Suddenly there’s a spray of sticky soapy liquid and I have to start again.

I figured it out. Bubbles remind us of happiness. They are big, they are shiny, they fly, they change shape, and even if a child is nowhere around, the minute you see or blow a bubble you hear a giggle. Maybe it’s a memory of a child’s, or maybe it’s your own. No matter how many times they pop you can always make more. Endless bubbles.

People say “You can’t live your life in a bubble.” Well, maybe not, but I would love to live my life surrounded by them and the joy they bring.

My name is Nicole Breanne, I was born in Tarzana, California, and I was raised in Detroit, Michigan. I studied Broadcast Journalism.  My passion is writing. I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to fly to Abu Dhabi where I met Ella.  She changed my world. I haven't had an easy life but Ella has brought me joy and hope. I wanted to convey that in this story. 

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