Story of Breathe Books

breathe books: 2004 – 2014

The idea for breathe books was conceived in June 2002, and born in October 2004 after a long period of meditation and contemplation. I felt Baltimore needed a place for people in the healing arts, for spiritual and metaphysical communities to congregate, read books, attend events, and share their knowledge with others. What could be better than a bookstore—a warm, inviting environment designed to include all spiritual, mystical, and inspirational traditions. Others have come and regretfully gone—it was time to re-create the new-age bookstore in Baltimore!

The concept of breathe books was almost entirely conceived while I was standing in front of the reincarnation section in the amazing Bodhi Tree bookstore in West Hollywood, California. I was out there for business in June 2002 and my life hasn’t been the same since.

breathe books became breathe bookstore cafe in 2012, 100% vegetarian cafe, where we served ayurvedic fare, vegan and gluten free sweets and savories and an amazing array of delicious food, all prepared with the finest ingredients, mostly organic, no white sugar, no white flour, absolutely no processed food. It was such a phenomenal adventure and learning experience—and a complete joy. And I had been privileged to meet so many wonderful people—customers, teachers, presenters, authors and other bookstore owners from around the country. I sometimes feel like breathe books was my own personal sacred space and learning center. And I’m amazed that so many of you felt the same. The stories you have shared with me of your experiences here have touched me deeply. I’m truly honored.

Over the years I led several trips to sacred sites including England, Peru and India and most recently, Bhutan. Now that I don’t need to be at the shop, I am able to lead more trips!

Personally, the breathe books journey was so fulfilling. Creating a vegetarian cafe really completed the picture of breathe books. Just about everything I believe in was represented there. I’m couldn’t be prouder of the work we did and the place we created.

As many of you know, I met my husband, Larry Bohlen, in the bookstore. He visited the shop on December 8, 2008, one year later to the date we were engaged, and got married on September 26, 2010. Our pup Ella, a beautiful amazing border collie mix, also walked into the shop in 2010! Shadow, a beautiful, regal Boxer-Lab came with Larry and I picked up the amazing Joonie, a black lab mix, in India in 2015.

Thank you so much for your support. I literally could not have done it without you! You made this independent bookstore and cafe a success.

Susan Weis-Bohlen

Level 7