If you don’t like what’s happening in your life, change your mind.
This brief quotation by the Dalai Lama reminds me that my experience of life changes when I do.
When I breathe and return to center, I change.
I change the way I influence--and am influenced by--my surroundings.
Recently, I was playing with my niece and nephews, 4-year-old triplets full--really full--of rambunctious energy. It was total fun, and they wore me out. At one point, as I saw them headed my way for more playtime, I suggested we all take a breath.
I demonstrated what I meant by breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth. After a few conscious breaths, I invited them to "play" along.
There was an immediate change. Rambunctious energy shifted to settled, centered energy, and the three of them were completely present with me. Amazing! And not. Because we can do this anytime. They just didn't know it. Now they do.
Back to Balance
My friend and mentor, Thomas Crum, often refers to the breath as our primary source of nutrition. We can live without food for weeks, without water for days, but air? Maybe a few minutes.
For me, it starts with noticing whether I'm breathing and how I'm breathing. Am I holding my breath? Is it high in my chest or deep in my belly? When I notice, I can change.
When you're feeling stressed, in the middle of a conflict, or otherwise under pressure, have you unconsciously stopped breathing? Most people do. When you stop the natural flow of air, you also stop the flow of ki, your energy. You become tense and unbalanced, both physically and emotionally Your body, mind and spirit are disconnected.
An easy way back to balance--to center--is to reconnect to the breath. As soon as you notice you've stopped, you can start breathing again. Relax your shoulders, open your throat and allow inspiration in. Your breath is the ki--and the key--that restores hidden wisdom, resources and strength. It's our primary source of nutrition and inner self defense.
You can practice anytime. The more you catch yourself, the more relaxed and centered you'll be.
How are you inventing your life today? How does the way you breathe affect your actions? And how might you become more aware of the process?
A centering breath is a place to start.
Thich Nhat Hanh image is from the Thich Nhat Hanh Quote Collective website.