Healing. It's almost this magical word that makes us think everything will be perfect - once we are healed.
Many of us are looking for healing, and even though most of us realize that a pill won't cut it, we still tend to gravitate towards quick-fixes.
That's the mindset of an addict - and most of us have this instant gratification drive, regardless of having dealt with an actual addiction. I know I do (have this all-or-nothing and must-have-now tendency), and that's why I meditate daily. I simply cannot be of much value in this world, if I don't take responsibility for my own weaknesses and work to be better everyday.
This is not aiming for perfection - rather an aim that being better everyday is what matters.
It's all the small steps, stones and stumbles that makes us.
And sometimes also breaks us, so we can be open to be kinder, more compassionate and more loving.
The harder shell we have, the more it needs to crack open for us to embrace body, mind and soul and melt together into a unity.
Melting into a whole being. A being that is NOT just a shell. Because shells crush under pressure. They're hollow.
Even if only 10 minutes, incorporating breath work into your meditation is like an internal shower and shield strengthener.
The consistency and grounding everyday is key to counteract the lure of distraction and information overload which tends to disconnect us from what really matters at a core level.
Everyday we need to make a conscious choice followed by action steps to master our mind.
This is needed, if we don't want it to run our lives and create emotional rollercoasters.
An untamed mind runs like wild horses.
As scenic and romantic as that might sound, I can assure you that is not so, when it comes to our internal mind chatter. Quite the contrary.
So we know that our mind controls our emotions, and that our emotions affect our physical state of wellbeing and organ health.
The logical question then is: what controls the mind?
Breathing is the king of the mind.
Breathing instantly takes us from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system response. Our reptilian brain is in charge of our response to life when we are in the sympathetic nervous system. Our reptilian mind is like a snake. It's sneaky and wants to attack and react. That's why many of us get lost in running after things like power, sex, binge behaviors and money.... always more, more more.
Never enough. An insatiable hunger.
If this sounds somewhat familiar, then you have allowed yourself to spend too much time in fight or flight stage.
This creates biochemical havoc in your body.
Men's testosterone drops, and they feel depressed, moody and edgy. Women's cortisol and serotonin levels get wiped out. We feel drained, tired, anxious and crave carbs like crazy.
Imagine that something as simple as breathing can take you back to sanity and actually thriving in this body you are in - body, mind and soul.
You will want to experiment with different breath techniques to fit your current stage and needs. You don't have to make this rocket science, though, overanalyzing what the "perfect" breath approach for you is.
You will never get started, if you get lost in overthinking it.
Just do it. Just start taking action on what you read and what you are thinking about wanting to do etc. Try out different ways of working with your breath and commit to 5 minutes every morning before the day starts to take back control of your (re)actions, thought patterns and... life.
For every emotion there is a corresponding breath.
You can literally breathe your way into another way of being and feeling in this world.
But first, you need to commit to do it in steps. Start NOW.
How to start
- Wake up, shower, get dressed.
- Set a timer for 5 minutes if needed, otherwise go with the flow.
- Sit with legs crossed on floor to get grounded, place palms face up on knee caps.
- Breathe in for 5 counts (nostril only)
- Hold in for 5 counts
- Exhale for 5 counts (nostril only)
- Hold out for 5 counts
Repeat x 10 times (not the showering part, we're not going OCD here, mind you).
Finish off with visualizing yourself and loved ones embraced in bright white light.
Take this white light with you throughout your day.
And yes, that also means asking yourself if that loving-kindness feeling match with cursing in traffic just because someone cuts you off.
Let it go.
It's not that big of a deal.
It's just a car trying to go somewhere.
Use this shift in gears that meditation and breath works slowly gives you, to take with you that feeling into your daily living. In action this means practice reframing what is happening instead of reacting.
Your thoughts will change. Your life will change. You will change.
You will find yourself again - and not on the bottom of scotch whiskey. I promise you. The only thing you have to do is breathe and show up for yourself.... step by step.