I came across this on the internet recently. I have no idea if these statistics are accurate, however, it made me feel blessed that's for sure. What do you think? How did you feel after reading this?
When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still.”
This morning I recollected that I last spoke with my mom exactly three months ago today. I went to sleep last night melancholy and woke up melancholy, not knowing that this was the reason for my sadness. I was just sad and I didn't know why. Upon contemplation this morning I realized that I was experiencing the feeling of loss again. This deep, penetrating loss for my mother... and so, I sat with it while I drank a cup of coffee and while I stared at the lake through my dining room window. I just sat there, cried a little, just a little, and then took a deep breath... and then another... and then another.... sigh... breath is so very, very powerful. I was able to get up. I washed my face, put on my clothes and then I walked to work.
I focused on my work and I focused on each step that I took, just trying to be present as I took a step forward in my life. Just trying to make progress. And if I discovered I was living in my past again, I just took another deep breath. And another. And another... breathing deeply helped me heal some more today.
I got a lot done at work and I hurt a little less and I miss her just as much, and that's okay.
In the yogic practice of breath control (or pranayama), the exhale has a special function. While the inhale is stimulating, the exhale is relaxing. While the inhale is about bringing energy into the body, the exhale is about releasing stress, toxins, and pain.
Because of this, you can use conscious breathing as a break in your day just as I did. By focusing on your exhale, you can let go of the past and come into the present with a renewed commitment.
Here's How: Seriously, give it a shot ;)
Sit up in your chair with your feet on the floor and a long spine. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Inhale through the nose, feeling your spine get longer and taller. Tuck your chin a little, remaining humble... Then exhale through your mouth with a deep sigh. As you exhale, visualize the difficult moments of your day moving away from you. Smile some.
Try this for a few minutes anytime you need to let go of something. It can have a profound effect on your emotional and physical health. When I practiced it today I was able to write this blog. I was able to enjoy my walk in the sunlight and the cool northern air in my hair. I was able to cry a little and smile a little and accomplish things that made my life easier and the lives of the people around me easier too. Just by breathing deeply and consciously, I was able to ground a little more in this world and look at it through new lenses. You can too. Just breathe. Give it a shot. And smile.
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ~ Nelson Mandela
"All of us, whether or not we are warriors, have a cubic centimeter of chance that pops out in front of our eyes from time to time. The difference between the average person and a warrior is that the warrior is aware of this and stays alert, deliberately waiting, so that when the cubic centimeter of chance pops out, it is picked up." ~ Carlos Castaneda
It's been two months and two weeks since my Mom died in a car accident. Since officially letting her go, I've boarded this roller coaster called LIFE & EMOTION and have ridden it stubbornly. I wish I could say, "fearlessly", but that's not necessarily true.
Sometimes in my life, when things get a little shaken up, I actually re-find my path again (dharmic path) that I might have strayed from previously. Failure, change and trauma often does that for people. It reawakens us to who we really are and to what we truly want, and it shakes us out of our complacency. This has been my experience in life and I am often grateful for the events that lead to the "shaking up" of my life... as it is usually for the better.
And so I have been patiently waiting for the feeling of understanding that usually follows change and trauma in my life... Waiting for the : "***Ahhh... I see*** " moment.... The "this is why the universe did this! This is why the universe took both my Mom and my Grandma... my rocks and treasures from me... both at a young age... leaving me sort of alone and without parental guidance for the remainder of my life"... moment...
Obviously, my feeling of loss is still sensitive and at the surface, but I am ready and waiting; wanting and needing to know what this means. What's next! Waiting... waiting.... waiting.... and then finally my waiting became doing...
This is what I've done: Over the past few evenings, before falling asleep, I stare up at my ceiling and I reflect on the day. During this time of quiet reflection, I think about my behavior. I think about my actions and feelings. I think about what it all means and what I could have done differently. I often find my mind wondering off to the future and past and the "what if's", but then I simply and gently guide it back to the now. To the present. And reflect some more. At first, my days didn't change much... my mornings started the same and my evenings ended the same and my reflections were repetitive... but then, my behavior began to change, my reflections began to change... my view on life began to change.
During my most recent reflections I noticed many beautiful moments in my life that I "experienced" throughout the day that I maybe didn't appreciate as fully as was deserved. Despite my pain or sadness, the world is beautiful and full of so much life. I could open my eyes and heart more. This was a wonderful lesson learned. I also realized that I could be kinder, gentler, more forgiving. I could be calmer and face the world with more courage. I also realized that deep down I want a significant inner/outer change and that sadly I have been blaming others for my current disgruntled inner state and that I instead need to take responsibility and actively change more of the inner me for the better, in order to have change occur on the outside too... this is a new topic for meditation and I intend on writing about this further upon more reflection, but first... more on the universe and the beauty of its grand design.
Right before I fell asleep I had a knowing within me that this really had all happened for a reason. Everything happens for a reason, and there are no accidents in life - I know you've heard that before. But I've personally come to know that this breathtaking universe of ours is not only strikingly intelligent in its operation, it's also a very friendly place. This world wants us to live great lives. It wants us to be happy. And it wants us to win.
*sigh.... Still falling asleep... As my breathing became fuller and my heart expanded with joy and love, I realized that I am a worthy teacher of myself and that the lessons taught to me by my Mom and Grandma were not buried with them, but instead are actually blossoming within my heart and soul with each quiet moment spent in reflection and with each second that I take responsibility for my life... I smiled... and then slept and dreamed of them both.
A quiet voice inside (which first appeared to me this morning while staring at the sunlight play on my ceiling... I kind of love that ceiling now) informed me that something big was about to happen and that what I would experience over the coming days and weeks would not only revolutionize my life, it would affect the lives of many others as well. It told me that my best was yet to come.
My guess is that many of us fail to listen to this quiet yet wise voice within us. There's a place deep inside every single one of our hearts that knows all the answers to our biggest questions. Each of us knows our truth and what needs to be done to create extraordinary lives for ourselves. Most of us have simply lost the connection to this natural source of pure wisdom because too much noise and clutter dominates our days. But I've found that when I've made time for silence, stillness, and solitude, the voice of truth begins to speak. And the more I've trusted its guidance, the richer my life has become.
I'll be the first to tell you that, in many ways, I'm still just a beginner on this journey of self-discovery. The top of one mountain is the bottom of the next for me, and my human exploration is a never-ending process. Even now, as I write these words, I'm moving through yet another period of massive personal transformation and reassessing my most fundamental values, along with the way I view the world. But I try to be gentle with myself. I remind myself that I must be patient and not "push the river". Each day brings greater clarity, more certainty, and new blessings. And to me, that's what this beautiful unfolding of life is all about.
“Letting go doesn’t mean we don’t care. Letting go doesn’t mean we shut down. Letting go means we stop trying to force outcomes and make people behave. It means we give up resistance to the way things are, for the moment. It means we stop trying to do the impossible—controlling that which we cannot—and instead, focus on what is possible—which usually means taking care of ourselves. And we do this in gentleness, kindness, and love, as much as possible.”
“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”
― Mary Oliver
Love is the essence of our life. I have written this blog with love, and I offer it to you, dear reader, with the hope that the suggestions offered here will become a vital part of your self-healing and continued well-being. ~ Ashley