Twelve Breaths

spiral-1000782_1920“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.”
 Thich Nhat Hanh

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 keyboard-393838_1920addition 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…

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The Art of Staying Sane

IMG_1579I hardly recognize the world we live in.  Even though I attempt to shield myself from too much news, I can’t avoid the tragedies of political chaos, mass shootings, human suffering, cataclysmic storms and forest fires from reaching my ears.  Then there’s climate change. It can cause one to live with low-level anxiety.writing-828911_1920

In order to give myself some level of relief, I have a few strategies.  Writing is my first go to.  The immediacy of pen to paper as a mode of expression is so satisfying.  I may write in my journal, work on a poem or continue to write on a longer essay that I’ve been working on.

Continue reading “The Art of Staying Sane”