When your muscles are tight and you feel frustrated, wound up, ready to snap. Unfurl your body, widen your stance and stretch your arms out behind you to open up your chest. And breathe. Pause. Exhale.
When you have witnessed the suffering of someone you love and helped bury them deep in the soil. And your soul feels like it is being rent in two. Wail. Release the deep guttural groans that speak what a thousand sermons never could. Then remind yourself to breathe again.
When the world simmers with fear and anger and distrust and you don’t quite know what to do with it all but you wish this planet could be a kinder, gentler space for all human beings. Sigh. Long and deep. Extend love. Then breathe in. Pause. Exhale.
When you carry a heavy burden of worry for someone you love desperately and you can’t fix it. And he doesn’t want you to anyways. Lift him up then release him to make his own mistakes and forge his own path. Keep the porch light on for him. Then breathe. Pause. Exhale.
When you are passing through what feels like a never ending cycle of loss or struggle and you barely have time to come up for air before you are pulled under again. Curl up in bed, covers right up to your chin, and watch a beautiful movie. Cry. Really sob. A whole box of Kleenex worth. Then breathe. Slowly and deeply. And tenderly pick yourself up and move forward.
When tragedy strikes and a bright spot of happiness flits your way, receive it, open armed. Laugh. Heartily. Like you mean it. Your laughter doesn’t disrespect the dead nor does it deny the reality of your pain. It reminds you that in this life happiness and struggle comingle. Joy and pain can coexist. Then breathe. Pause. Exhale.
And when the sun is shining and birds are singing and all is well, and life brims with possibility. Don’t get so caught up in the sparkle and shine of it all that you forget to slow down enough to notice. To really see. And to breathe, pause, and exhale.
The breath is one of our body’s strongest self-healing mechanisms. Being aware of our breath – and pausing to breathe deeply oxygenates the blood, helping us think more clearly. It reconnects mind and body, dampens pain response, calms heart rate and lowers blood pressure. It is one of the most important ways we cleanse, heal, and restore. Movement, essential oils, healthy touch, laughter and tears can all help us breathe more deeply to release pent up emotion and move us from pain, grief or stress to greater peace.
When you aren’t clear what the next step is – Just Breathe.
Thank you for reading at A Life in Progress. Please sign up for my email newsletter to stay in touch and to receive a free welcome gift!
*photo public domain from magdeleine.co