“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.”
There is power in the breath and it is so easily forgotten. Sure you get reminders in yoga and exercise classes but once in a while isn’t enough. Earlier in the week, I had a profound connection with my breath. I was feeling a migraine coming on, not too surprising with stress over medical issues and an elderly parent. Oh…then there’s that whole the state of the world thing and the anxiety that often comes with the creative process.
I examined my usual options- ride it out for a couple days of excruciating discomfort or take the prescription for it, which works, but gives me a hangover the next day. I decided to try a new option- lie down and deep breathe through it. When I say breathe, I mean deep belly breaths that seemingly fill my body. Amazingly enough, my headache was gone in about 15 minutes.
This was a huge breakthrough for me. What if I used breath throughout the day as a preventative to keep stress and headaches away? Now I have adopted a practice (in addition to my 12-minute daily meditation ) of focused breathing. Three times a day I sit or lie down, close my eyes and take twelve DEEP breaths. Inevitably my shoulders relax and I get back in a centered space. I set a reminder on my phone. Try it. Even one time a day can make a difference. Air (for now) is free and no mantra is required.
For added stress reducers I’ve deleted the news app, and social media apps on my phone (too much information). Often have my phone in the “do not disturb mode” and keep it out of my bedroom at night. There is also great power in taking charge in one’s own brain…
Our lives are frittered away by detail…simplifly, simplify. Henry David Thoreau
Transitioning from my art retreat at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico back to my home base has not been an easy one (see my last post). For one blessed week, I did not have to drive, deal with purchasing or preparing my food or tending house in my basic camp style lodgings. My life was structured with making art, eating communal meals, hiking and other activities that were provided. Cell phone service was non-existent and Wi-Fi sketchy. The news of the world was kept at bay. I did not miss any of it.
So I am back. I do enjoy my own bed, my partner, my dogs, but dealing with the complexity of daily life again is daunting. Not only are there the domestic chores that my house and yard present, but then there is the pile of mail, email, computer tasks for my art and other business that needs tending. It is easy for my creative pursuits to get put on the back burner. This modern world we live in is rife with distraction. I miss the simplicity of life at Ghost Ranch.
But, this is my reality. For the last week, I put my head down and got into bull-dozer mode catching up on everything from laundry to weeding the garden. Now I am back to finding more balance. I have to schedule my art time and keep it sacred less it gets eaten away. This is a constant challenge. If I don’t write or create something every day I get moody. It’s a spiritual food. After being away, I realize that my life needs to be simplified so I can concentrate on those things most important to me. Next year the garden will be smaller, we will get more help around the yard. I will be purging the house of lots of stuff that is no longer needed and take myself off mailing lists.
Continue reading “Return from Simplicity”
We are all open on Sunday
To the point our roots
Have pulled from the earth
& screens are the master of our minds.
Surrender the busy- ness
To the being- ness
To the pause between
The in & out of the breath
The rhythm of the beating heart.
Go outside & gaze at the sky
Feel the wind on your face
Your feet on the ground
Wrap your arms around your people
And give thanks for the day.
from my pencil
anchor me to this earth
like a kite on a string.
form words on pages
giving shape to my thoughts
running wild in my head.
These lines that form words
are lassoed into sentences, then paragraphs
a calm order brought from the spiraling chaos.
My soul is tamed
At least for a while
From the simple act of writing.