Last month we worked hard on gratitude and looking for and actively creating the positive. These are great tools for combating burnout and creating hope. You are creating new neural pathways and just like building any new habit, it takes practice! So good work!
Where I live, the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. Snow has fallen and the season has turned to winter. It is December, the season for hustle and bustle and so, I am calling for balance! I am asking that you say no and yes responsibly. Ha! 🙂 And, I am challenging you to just sit and breathe, everyday for at least 3 minutes.
Yes, this is the season for preparation and busyness, but it is also the season of watchful, expectant waiting. My hope for myself and for you is that we find sacred spaces and sacred time to watch, wait, observe, feel and enjoy.
Last week my husband encouraged me to meet him at church for a mid-week silent prayer time. I didn’t really think I needed it, but I decided to meet him there. I lit a candle, listened to the piano music and sat in silence and then I started to cry. I, like so many of you, have lost loved ones, I am worried about my children, my dad, my husband…everyone. I am affected by the violence and the wars. I am afraid about climate change. The list goes on and on and, well, while I was silent I realized that I needed to grieve! Taking time to watch, feel and observe felt good. I was moving so rapidly through the day to day that I didn’t recognize what I needed. I know that church isn’t the right space for everyone, but in that sacred space I was struck by the reality that we move through this life so unbearably fast. And because of this, we need to set aside time and space to watch, wait, think, cry, pray, meditate and wonder. This space and time is where real healing happens, where our minds and bodies can know rest, where creative ideas are born and where grief can be freely expressed.
Like I said before it is a season of watchful, expectant waiting. I know it is a time of holiday preparation, end of year wrap-ups, meetings, parties, gatherings, donations, shopping, baking, writing, working, cleaning, children, family, concerts and all the rest. I also know that when I look at that list it is both daunting AND wonderful. It is a challenging season to be balanced. My hope for all of us is that we act with intention, that we say no and yes thoughtfully and that we find sacred spaces and time.
Intentionally set aside space and time where you can sit quietly and breathe. Even if you simply start at ten and count each breath down to one, you have done well on your quest to balance out your day. You are creating a sacred space inside of yourself using your mind and breath. May we all find time each day to sit and to be still, putting a hand on our hearts and breathing.
How to do it:
Close your eyes, put your feet firmly on the floor and your hand on your heart. Count each breath starting at ten and counting down to one. If your mind wanders, label what you were thinking about and let it go (no worries, this happens to everyone!). If you lose track of your counting, start again or make a guess at the number. The point is to slow down. Three minutes of this sort of calm breathing opens up your cardiovascular system, oxygenates your brain, takes you out of fight or flight, lowers your heart rate and blood pressure AND turns on your thinking, creative brain. It is a powerful habit to integrate into your daily life for many reasons!
You are creating balance, breath by breath.