Archives for category: Returning to Breath

She lit a burner on the stove and offered me a pipe
‘I thought you’d never say hello,’ she said
‘You look like the silent type’
Then she opened up a book of poems
And handed it to me
Written by an Italian poet
From the thirteenth century
And every one of them words rang true
And glowed like burning coal
Pouring off of every page
Like it was written in my soul from me to you

Today, I am grateful for the ability to hear and embrace song, and for my body that enables me to dance. I am grateful for the perpetual universal guidance and its knowing.

I am grateful for the chance I have at a life limited only by that which I allow to bind me, grateful for chains because they can be broken, grateful for YOU, who meets my light with your own.

I’ve found a couple simple actions I am realizing I can take to bring myself back into the present moment… here’s hoping they might help you as well:

– Return to your breath.

When it comes down to it, breath is, at its core, our life force. We can survive a few days without water and we can go maybe a week and a half or so without food… without breath, maybe a few minutes. (Unless you’re super human… in which case, you get maybe seven minutes. Since seven is lucky and all, that sounds about right. Even super humans run out of luck when they try to test the universe. Most of my friends are super human, and we all try to at times. The universe tends to win…) When I find my mind wandering into thoughts of the unknown, into worrying about the future (which, for me, often manifests in feelings of anxiety), what am I learning to do is return to my breath. Breathe in… breathe out.

Breathe in… breathe out.

I inhale for a count of seven (or eleven, depending on what my body tells me), and then a count of seven (or eleven, as the case may be) on the exhale. I remember that my breath is what sustains me. It is what allows me to exist in this present moment, and when I remember this, I am filled with thoughts of gratitude. I am thankful for this life and am reminded that this moment is what matters. It’s all I have. My heart rate slows and anxiety diminishes. Plans and musings about the future evaporate into the atmosphere and I am left with only myself and my breath… this is all there is, and I am thankful for it.

– Write a reminder to yourself and tack it in a place (or, multiple places) where you will see it and it will be most beneficial to you.

For me, my mind tends to wander a lot when I’m driving. Sometimes positive thoughts about my life and feelings of thankfulness, sometimes reflections on experiences I’ve had {sometimes these reflections are related to whatever music I might be playing… Railroad Earth tends to elicit wonderful feelings for me – I’ve found myself driving through the mountains and crying tears of joy while blasting some Railroad Earth. Go ahead and picture it, it’s awesome. Even more awesome when I’m living it. I digress…}, but sometimes I find myself worrying about the future or what’s to come, or what will happen when I get to wherever it is I’m driving.

So, I have a sticker on my visor above my head that reads, “In The Moment Of NOW” at which I will glance whenever I find myself starting get a little anxious.  This does the trick for me in an instant… I remember where I am RIGHT NOW and I return to that place (this place, I guess I should say.) I stop worrying. And I breathe in the blessings of the moment.

This sort of thing requires repetition in order to really be able to flip a switch, but I would say its benefits started for me after about a week or so after putting this sticker in my car… I started to get used to it being there and after the first couple times of glancing up at its message, it became habit. I will read the words out loud to myself at times: “In the moment of now”, I will say. And I breathe, come back to the moment, sometimes turn my happy music up just a little louder and look around me to remind myself of the beauty that surrounds me. This grounds me and I quit my worrying. I am okay.

Your message to yourself may be different than mine… it could be as simple as “Smile”. Whatever it may be, follow it. You know yourself and will learn to know what works for you. This is part of the path to loving yourself: trusting that you know what you need.

– Find a pen. Find some paper. (I keep a notepad and pen with me {but this wasn’t always the case… I’ve learned my lesson and let enough musings that I could have expanded on pass me by. I think this means I’m really doing this writing thing. Word.} in part for this reason.) <- Weird punctuation like this is fun for me… I think that means I’m exactly where I need to be.

Write down three positive things about yourself and three about someone you love. Be honest. (This brings you back to the moment of now because you are forced to consider how you really are, right now (if you’re being honest with yourself at least you are) and you’re thinking positively. This positive thinking elevates mood and our worries of the future and/or things we don’t have control over seem less intense and more inconsequential compared to what’s available to us at hand. ‘What can I do right now?’.) <- More fun and weird punctuation.

(Also, this takes you outside of yourself and gets you thinking positive thoughts about someone in your life who you love and the things about him or her that probably brought you to feel that love in the first place. You are removed from your issues within your mind and are feeling good about (and thankful for, probably) someone who’s lucky enough to have your love.

– Find your mantra.

This is similar to writing a message to yourself to glance at but instead, it’s verbal, and it’s a phrase that you’ll repeat to yourself to help you find what it is you need. I think we all, on some level, know what it is we need. At least we do when we fully decide to be honest with ourselves. And we’re either addressing it or hiding from it. This mantra helps to bring us right back down to reality because it was something we found at a moment of clarity… and helps brings us back to that place when we’ve strayed and are feeling a little lost. For me, it is this: “We all want the same things. We all want to be happy and to be loved.”

Here are a couple others that I feel would work well:

“I am love, I am LIGHT.”
“I am happy. I am happy. I am happy.” (If you don’t feel it, fake it ’till you make it… and it will. Or you’ll start to feel ridiculous repeating this over and over and hopefully start to laugh at said feelings of ridiculousness. Life is silly… so laugh!)
“I AM SO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!!!!!” (If you’re screaming this at people, especially at inappropriate times, you probably are.)

Get creative with it, get happy. Get it.

[I know I will continue to add onto this list as I find develop other positive habits such as these and will update accordingly.]

Take care of yourself today, hug someone, smile at a stranger, look up at the sky, breathe deeply.

You are loved!