Inhalation is our first autonomous act at birth, and exhalation is our final farewell as we transition from this world to the next one. As long as we are drawing breath — even if we lose everything else — we have a companion. Inhaling and exhaling is what keeps us alive. Breathing also acts as a metaphor for the cycles of life, which are to begin, end, start, finish, arrive, or leave. As we breathe in and then release that breath, we create a natural rhythm of letting go, dying to the old, and making room for the new. In exhaling, you cannot bring back the same breath that you just discharged. Think of the effort it would take to retrieve that breath, and yet so often we try. We revert to the past for the memories we want to maintain, and we look to the future for the relief that can only be accessed now. And when we turn our full attention to whatever preceded or will follow the precious present, we have forfeited our peace — because peace can only be accessed in whatever is happening here, in this moment.
My encouragement to you today is that when conflict or tension rises, breathe. The more you practice, the easier turning those situations around will become. Breathe.
Our breath punctuates our lives. We take it in sharply when we are surprised. We sigh deeply when we are disappointed. And we exhale with laughter or disdain when we are amused or irritated. Our breath functions as the barometer of our inner world. It is deep and slow when we’re at peace and high and shallow when we’re not. The breath is the free and portable sorcerer’s tool that we always carry with us. Artists and writers use it to be inspired. The word “inspiration” literally means “to breathe in” (Webster, 1989, p.386).
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I’ll Be in Boulder, CO on April 11th!
I’m pleased to be teaching a workshop called Conscious Leadership in Healthcare: How Caring for Others Begins With Emotional Intelligence and Self-Care with my friend and colleague Tara Sheahan, who co-founded the Conscious Global Leadership Institute with me. You can find details on the class being offered by the Watson Caring Science Institute & International Caring Consortium here, if you’re interested to learn more: http://watsoncaringscience.org/event-registration/?ee=1.
Join Me on the Huffington Post!
I’m thrilled to be published on the Huffington Post! I would love for you to take a look at my first post there, and if you’re inclined, it would be wonderful if you would click the Facebook “like” for the article, and write a comment. Click here to go to that article. Thanks so much!
You can find the book “Happily Ever After Right Now. Stop Searching! Start Celebrating!” here.
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Excerpts from page 129-130 of my book, “Happily Ever After Right Now… Stop Searching! Start Celebrating!”
I want to extend a very special thanks and gratitude to Cindy and all of those on my wonderful “Happily” team who make these posts (as well as the emails and social media) possible, and make them come together in a beautiful way! Without their dedication and help, I wouldn’t be here “blogging” or sharing information with you electronically! I would still be writing on my yellow tablets!
Image credit: http://eatwriteloveenjoy.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/just-breathe/