Use breathing to ground yourself in stormy weather

Our breathing is a stable solid ground that we can take refuge in. Regardless of our internal weather – our thoughts, emotions and perceptions- our breathing is always with us like a faithful friend. Whenever we feel carried away, or sunken in a deep emotion, or scattered in worries and projects, we return to our breathing to collect and anchor our mind.

We feel the flow of air coming in and going out of our nose. We feel how light and natural, how calm and peaceful our breathing functions. At any time, we can return to this peaceful source of life.

We may like to recite: “Breathing in I know that I am breathing in.
Breathing out I know that I am breathing out.”

We do not need to control our breath. Feel the breath as it actually is. It may be long or short, deep or shallow. Conscious breathing is the key to uniting body and mind and bringing the energy of mindfulness into everyday life.

Thich Nhat Hahn

A simple practice for when you are anxious today

Just the wind blowing: allowing life to move through this moment:

Take a comfortable position,

Now imagine you are in a beautiful place in nature. Surrounded by beauty you can feel the wind blowing around you

Let all of your conscious experience — sounds, sensations, thoughts, emotions, everything — become the wind.

Feel all of it moving and changing, arriving, moving around and over you, and then going.

Notice how the wind takes on different qualities — soft, strong, harsh, gusty, gentle.

Relax as the wind blows around you.

Let it come and go in all its forms. You remain here, in calmness, abiding.

Jeffrey Brantley  and Wendy Millstine, Daily Meditations for Calming Your Anxious Mind,

A Blessing for this day

An unusual St Patrick’s Day when people are fearful, and gatherings are not allowed, in church or in the pub. We need to find resources and blessings within and then extend those blessings to all who are afraid and especially those most vulnerable at this time. 

When the canvas frays in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow wind work these words
of love around you, an invisible cloak to mind your life.

John O’Donohue, Beannacht

Beannachtai na Féile Padraig oraibh go léir: The blessings of  Saint Patrick’s Day to you all.

Life on your own terms

Give yourself permission not to be not good at something.

Quietly and softly carve out a life on your own terms. Stop apologizing.

Forgive that sometimes things take a while.

Forgive the low-level, near-constant fear.

Celebrate the small successes.

Perhaps joy is its own body of water, wade out into it.

From the blog of Meg Fee,  Author of Places I stopped on the Way Home

(Photo from Bray Head, Valentia Island with Skellig Island on the horizon)

Not hardening the heart

Anytime I go to the West of Ireland I am always struck by the vastness of the horizons and the wildness of the ocean.  This photo comes from Valentia Island, a beautiful,  enchanted, place off the South West coast, with peaceful walks and windy beaches, seals, puffins and seabirds. But it is from the movement of the ocean that we can learn most, how to remain spacious and keep the heart soft, open and fluid. 

May there come across the waters 
A path of yellow moonlight 
To bring you safely home. 
May the nourishment of the earth be yours, 
May the clarity of light be yours, 
May the fluency of the ocean be yours, 
May the protection of the ancestors be yours. 
And so may a slow 
Wind work these words 
Of love around you, 
An invisible cloak 
To mind your life. 

John O’Donoghue, Beannacht

(If you are ever tempted to visit this beautiful place, I would highly recommend this airbnb, run by Tom, a deeply thoughtful man and the perfect host. He runs a lovely house  with well-stocked bookshelves, ideal for a reflective break.)

His house can be found at https://www.airbnb.ie/rooms/32330925 

 

Time for what is essential

Not just writers, but politicians, journalists and most of modern distracted society…

Most writers waste people’s time with too many words. I’m trying to reduce everything down to the minimum.

My last work will be a blank piece of paper.

Samuel Beckett