Yesterday’s post on breathing as a way to return to ourselves had more readers than any recent post. Breathing as a way of returning to who we are must strike a chord of recognition for us–deeply. That alone left me pondering the power of breath and working with our breathing as a way of returning again: to who we are, to what we are, to where we are.
I realize that I often, instinctively, turn to my breathing for some immediate help. If I am approaching an anxious situation (no matter the cause–you know when something is making you anxious–most of us start by holding our breath!). Yesterday, it was walking into our house to find that the air conditioning was not working properly. As I dialed our HVAC people, I caught myself holding my breath. Breathe, I told myself. As I did, I came back out of that place that anxiety takes me to, back into my body, into the phone, awaiting the voice on the other end. That situation ended well. We remain cool today. More importantly, I found a way to stay “cool” mentally and physically as I dealt with the unexpected difficulty of home ownership.
In a walking around moment in our lives, we ALWAYS have the option of intending and choosing our next breath, breathing deeply in, breathing deeply out.
When some part of our bodies hurt, we have the power of choosing to enter more deeply into our bodies when it causes us pain with intentional breathing which, alone, may alleviate some of our pain. Even if the intentional breath does not alleviate our pain, it will alleviate the anxiety that comes with pain. It will lower our blood pressure. It will allow us to return to our bodies a little more whole than when the pain sent us out into that scary place.
When we face unexpected events–the traffic, the difficult work colleague, a sudden shift in money flow, or any life event where suddenly things, rules or people change, we have the power of choosing to enter into our situation more deeply by taking intentional breaths. Those breaths remind us to be here now. They enable us to think more clearly and to be present to those around us. They calm our nervous systems back a bit from running away or fighting (both of which may be necessary, but which also may not be necessary–some intentional breaths help us to decide).
Our intentional breaths can help us through that middle of the night anxiety and allow us to sleep again. They can also help us in our walking around life to stay centered in our bodies, calm in our minds and attuned to the important relationships around us. The opportunities come, always, for everyone, with the very next breath. To return to who we are, what we are and where we are, again and again.
This is an intentional practice every day. Learning to calm oneself and clear the mind is such a gift to yourself. Thank you for your writing and this very important reminder. May we all breathe and appreciate living in this moment.