Taking a deep breath is about more than just calming the nervous system, it’s about resetting our emotional framework. It’s about inhaling gratitude and healing.
Go ahead, take a load off and give yourself a break (I’m serious).
I’ve been inspired of late by this notion of taking a breather…probably because, I need it (and you just might, too) and sometimes I need to remind myself what’s really important. To-do lists, perpetual motion, engaging in life’s drama…or not. We get to choose and we can stop over-complicating things for ourselves.
Don’t let the simplicity of a single action — a choice to momentarily press pause and step out of the chaos — overshadow the power of its reach to transform you at any given moment, in any given circumstance.
No, we can’t always control the circumstances we find ourselves within, but we can decide how we are going to navigate them. Fortified or frenzied; choices, choices.
I always say the seeds of Best Self Magazine were born of my own need to call forth healing in my life — and I wasn’t kidding. And what a learning, healing, revealing, connecting-the-dots journey it has been. And boy, oh boy, did I spend a of time going about this the wrong way.
You may not know that my last 16 years have been spent on a construction site wearing a hard hat — it was my life that was under reconstruction; literally rebuilding from the ground up after losing everything. I share this because it stands as the ultimate excuse-buster and beacon of possibility. At a time when I was scrambling to reassemble the pieces of a broken life, I didn’t have tools to rely upon, the resources to lean on or the wherewithal to know which way to turn…so I kept scrambling, oftentimes in the same circles, coming face-to-face with the same results and exhausting myself.
Does any of this sound vaguely familiar?
Though even before I had the slightest understanding of the mind, body, spirit connection, I was holding onto a morsel of hope that life could be different, that I could change the narrative from the one I felt victimized by and stuck in.
Just start…somewhere, anywhere, take a deep breath…give a little thanks (for anything). Giving thanks was once a life preserver and the only thing I could hold onto. Today it’s a practice. It can be dismissed in its simplicity and yet it is salve for the soul — to be given and received, every breathing moment of our lives.
A ‘Best Self Breather’ is a detour from the chaos of your human experience — no matter what the experience. It is found in awakened awareness, in gratitude and in the little things. Little things are not only big things — they are ‘every’ things.
It’s a pivot; a reset, a recalibration, a moment of grace…and I want to let you in on a little secret — it doesn’t have to cost you anything, but comes with enormous benefit. As a matter of fact, the notion of this first emerged for me (and saved me) at a time in my life when I felt like I had nothing. A time when I had to rely upon myself to choose feeling good, seeing beauty and striving for healing — or choose suffering.
Eventually, I found tools and I made breakthroughs. And when I began to taste that sweet nectar, there was no turning back and thus began my quest home to my Best Self. But I need to remind myself all the time. The difference is that today when I start to feel that spiral down, I stop and I observe my thoughts, my words, my actions. Do they reflect who I am, who I want to be, how I want to show up…?
Reset. Look around. Grab something to be grateful for and hold it tight until you feel yourself exhale.
I know what it feels like to lose everything, I do. I also know what it feels like to find my way back. And when I slip, I remind myself what I’m capable of.
No, a ‘Best Self Breather’ won’t solve the problems of the world, but ‘Best Self Breather’ moments strung together begin to tell a new story, create a new perspective — most of all, a transformed reality. We will face life obstacles throughout this journey…but it is HOW we face them that matters most.
I share this with you because, well, if I could do it, so can you.
And when you start making time for breathers and seeking gratitude, it’s like a whimsical game of hide and seek with the Universe. Do you think she caught that one? Put another one over there. Seek and ye shall find.
And trust me, nothing can shift you like a bit of joy that rises up in your belly and fills you.
It can be found reading a passage from a book that deeply resonates with you. Have you ever read something that you thought was written specifically for YOU, whose words jump from the page into your soul? You can find it walking across a room and witnessing a glorious ray of light reflecting on a vase of flowers. It can be found in the woods surrounded by trees, on a city sidewalk, sitting in your car in traffic, waiting online to pay a barista for your coffee. There is always something, somewhere to be grateful for. They can be momentary breaks or expand into longer periods of your days.
Let your breathers lead the way. Trust me, they will. Even reading this is an acknowledgement that you seek them too. Insert them into the fabric of your precious life, your daily routine, your beautiful being…and keep inserting them.
You may also enjoy reading Tenderly Holding the Bitter & Sweet: Finding Gratitude Within Life’s Beauty and Pain, by Indira Abby Heijnen