Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Just Breathe

Every now and then, I have to remind myself that it is okay to let go and do nothing, to sit in silence, and just breathe.  The past few days have been a prime example of such a time.  I have encountered something that has left me feeling unsure of how to make sense of my thoughts and feelings, uncertain about what it is I should do next.  And while this lack of clarity is certainly uncomfortable, I take comfort knowing that I don’t have to make a decision just yet.  That I can take the time it requires to listen to myself and sort through my thoughts and feelings.  To pause and reflect on who and where I am, at this time, and just be in that moment, living, and breathing through it. 

Sometimes the best advice that we can give ourselves is to just breathe through the moment that we are, inhaling the good and exhaling the bad.  It is quite similar to taking a much needed pause that I have referenced so many times before. Remembering to "just breathe" helps us center our minds and our hearts while also encouraging the body to relax.  Research has proven time and time again that the power of the breath has calming and healing properties, much as it does in yoga and other mindfulness practices.  And while it might not exactly cure what ails us (though some say that it does), it certainly does help us bring our awareness back to where we are, and what we are experiencing in that present moment.

Mindfully breathing, especially during times of distress, helps turn our awareness into ourselves, slowing our minds, relaxing our bodies, and encouraging them to become one. Taking a moment to breathe, center our minds, and synchronize our bodies is truly mindfulness at its best.  It is mindful because it forces us to let go of the noise inside of our heads and bring our awareness to what is going on right now.  As we do so, we must let go of what has gone on in the past, no matter how recent, and ignore our thoughts about the future, no matter how near. 

Simply stated, we have no choice but to take our minds off of everything except our most immediate experiences as they occur.  In essence, as we breathe and turn our awareness inward, we are able to mindfully experience our most immediate internal and external happenings, and open ourselves to clarity, self-awareness, and peace.

So today, if you do nothing else for yourself, at the very least, remember to breathe.  Inhale the good.  Exhale the bad.  And know that simply breathing through the moment can be enough. 


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