When our mind is on autopilot and we feel like we are stuck on the hamster wheel of ruminating thoughts, it’s time to pause and get off the wheel. We can do this by using our breath. Our breath is a quick and easy tool to calm the fight-or-flight response and find some clarity amongst the business of the mind.
To begin, find your breath in your body and pay attention to your natural breath as it moves in and out of your body. You don’t have to change it, you just need to find it and stay with it. Observe the breath as it is in this moment. Do this for the next 10 seconds. Then take a moment and notice how your body feels, and notice where the tension is in your body. When you'reready, inhale deeply (but comfortably) through your nose. Imagine or feel the breath filling your chest, lungs and belly and then exhale slowly out your mouth. When you exhale you can even make it audible. As you inhale fully, you can imagine bringing in light and calming energy, and as you breath out, feel the body relax and let go of tension. Keep going with this breath…long full inhale and long slow exhale.
Sometimes sighing on the exhale feels really good. As you continue to do this, make sure it feels comfortable for you. You don't want to be breathing so deeply that you feel dizzy or light headed. Continue breathing this way for six rounds. It will only take you 30 seconds or so.
When you feel complete with this breath awareness exercise, stop and notice the body and notice the mind. See if you feel a bit more calm and can find some clarity around your thoughts. It helps if you practice everyday as a reminder. Either way, what I like about this is your breath is always available for you. You can do this breathing anytime, anywhere. You don't have to be in a room in your home. You can keep your eyes open and do it as you’re walking down the street, sitting at your computer or waiting in line at the store.
With a little practice you will be able to use breath awareness as a tool to find calm and clarity in those moments when your mind is on autopilot and the hamster wheel feels like a tilt-a-whirl.
Nothing I love more than being in my garden.
Planting and tending to my garden is a wonderful experience for me. Timeflies by as I am emerged in my chore and all is right in the world. I wear the garden gloves for the first 5 minutes and then find a reason to remove them and they never seem to find their way back on my hands. I love the feel of the dirt on my hands, the tiny seeds I sprinkle in the dirt and the careful covering of those seeds with the dirt, all excite my senses and bring me into the moment.
I spend time in my daily life remembering to come back into the moment. Noticing how it feels to wash my hands, taking time to savor my food, walking and noticing the earth under my feet and the list goes on. Honestly, I often forget to be mindful on those days that are busy and rushed. But when I get into my garden there isn't one sense I am not aware of. The feeling of the dirt, the smell of the plants, the colors of the vegetables, the sound of the birds and, of course, picking a vegetable and tasting it for the first time. I am all in!
What really excites me is when I get to pull vegetables out of the earth. Gently digging around each one and carefully and may I add mindfully pulling them up out of the dirt. It feels like a miracle every time. Not because I everunderestimated what the earth can produce, but because somehow I got this right. I planted the seeds the right depth, watered them enough and thinned them when needed. I am always in awe of what comes out of the earth and will be forever grateful for mother earth and all she has to offer. Next up…carrots!!! I cant wait!
I hear the excitement of the birds fighting for the berries, I see a cluster of deep purple goodness and I feel the softness of the berry as it makes its way into my hand and carefully into my mouth. Once the berry is in my mouth, I savor its flavor and texture. I slowly chew the berry as the flavor hits my tongue and the juices slip down my throat. I feel gratitude and deep satisfaction for the fruit from this tree and for the abundance in my life. Next week the berries will be gone. The birds will quiet down. I will remember the meditation of eating those wonderful berries in my backyard. Until next year service berries….
This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready to break my heart as the sun rises, as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers and they open - pools of lace, white and pink-
Now I know why so many people go to Sedona, AZ--it's a magical place for thinkers, artists, and wanderers.
Finding a beautiful place to experience calm and quiet.