One Conscious Breath
Have you ever needed a change and then all of a sudden everything changes at once?
Welcome to life as I know it. Just three months ago I was ready to pack up and move to Florida, go back to school, and throw all caution to the wind. Basically, I was itching to let my wild side out again after years of hibernation due to a phenomenon known as adulting. Then, in literally the blink of an eye, everything changed. I got engaged, pregnant, and began packing up an apartment in Hoboken for the first time in 4 years. Needless to say things are pretty hectic around these parts and I’ve been feeling disconnected from myself to the point where I’m taking my frustration out on others. I didn’t realize I was doing this until my fiance pointed out that I was creating problems out of thin air; a quality of mine I thought I had conquered. Alas, it has returned in the form of a spiritual assignment.
Our contributor, newly engaged, mommy-to-be, Laurel Lederman
As a meditation teacher and coach I always teach others to take care of themselves first so in turn they can take care of others. Over the last month I’ve found this nearly impossible to implement this for myself. With this came a great lesson in being calm and what it truly means to cultivate true self-awareness. Recently, my fiancé and I had a miscommunication about something trivial: going to a tasting for our wedding. Obviously this should be one of the fun parts of planning a wedding, but since everything has been topsy turvy it became a problem that felt out of control. But, I remembered that I have tools to help me find center again. In just twenty minutes I was able to stop, drop, and meditate. Here’s how it all went down. I was at Choc O Pain drinking my daily coffee and enjoying a yogurt parfait when my fiancé Max called me to tell me he wouldn't be able to make our tasting next Friday. Already feeling tense (even after a good journaling sesh), I reacted instead of acted and we got into a fight. This left me crying in a coffee shop feeling sorry for myself and wanting to run away to a remote island never to be heard from again. I cancelled prenatal yoga and walked furiously through Hoboken like a bat out of hell. I was obviously panicking about nothing. Then I came to Church Square Park and decided to park it on a bench and just sit, weep and move on.
Once the tears started flowing I felt the release I needed to feel and then my tool box appeared. I remembered something that Eckart Tolle once said: “One conscious breath in and out is a meditation.” Something so simple and so clearly stated was exactly what I needed in that moment. So there I was, near the dog park, taking one conscious breath. As I began to breathe, I felt my body settle. I felt a layer of anxiety lift off of my skin and I began to transcend into a place of peace and calm. It was as if my spirit was returning to my body after being away in crazy town for a while. When I opened my eyes everything was clearer, prettier, and happier. I took pleasure in watching birds chase each other from branch to branch; I sensed the dogs having fun running in the dog park; I noticed the smallest details in the architecture of Our Lady of Grace Church; I felt connected to my surroundings and at ease in my body.
Change and uncertainty are universal truths we cannot change. They have always been and will always be. Yet, what we can change is our reaction to change by taking one breath at a time. Our breath is the only thing we actually have control of. It’s the one force in our bodies we are in charge of, it’s our life line to serenity, inner peace, and clarity. Whether you’re going through huge transitions or just going through the day, taking a conscious breath or two will certainly help you navigate your way back to an attitude of gratitude. Try this simple exercise and practice as often as needed.
Peace Meditation (set a timer for 5 minutes)
Find a comfortable seat and sense your body in the chair. Notice your sits bones, legs, feet and hands which should be gently in your lap. Take a gentle yet deep breath in. On the inhale visualize your breath spreading to every cell in your body, cleaning out toxic emotions and stuck sensations. On the exhale talk to your mind, tell it to “relax” and slowly release any tension from your body letting it exit through your feet and hands. Continue this process. If thoughts arise just see them without clinging to them. Let them disappear with the exhale. When you open your eyes take a moment to notice your surroundings and sit with the sense of peace you’ve created. Say a prayer of thanks for the experience you were given.
Repeat Often. Be Well!