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,

Sunday Quote: The depths within

Like many countries, Ireland yesterday went into a more complete lockdown, greatly restricting physical movement. This allows the space for a heightened interior focus. And at the same time there are signs all round of movement towards deeper compassion and more conscious living.

I can’t give you any advice but this:

to go into yourself and see how deep the place is from which your life flows.

Rilke

Asked to listen

Each passing year, we are asked to return to the ground of our spirit in order to go on. Each passing year, we are asked to listen like the seed for our crack of light in spring, to listen like the brook for our soft gurgle in summer, to listen like the leaf for our orange face in fall, to listen like the snow for a quiet place where we can powder down and rest

Mark Nepo, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen: Staying Close to What is Sacred

Forest bathing

We all know intuitively that going outside is good for us, and a growing foundation of science and neuroscience underlies the health benefits of being outdoors. In the 1980s, the secretary of Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries coined the term shinrin-yoku for making contact with and being affected—both physically and mentally—by the atmosphere of the forest. Shinrin-yoku translates in the West as “forest bathing” and is part of what I call the green cure: connecting with the natural world to help us thrive physically, cognitively, emotionally, and even spiritually.

You need only the most basic equipment: Leave your camera, your journal, and your guidebooks behind, and turn off your mobile devices. Forest bathing is about being, not analyzing.

Find some trees….Find somewhere to sit or lean, where you can be still for 10-20 minutes or more without being in the way of bicycle traffic, ants, or poison ivy.

Now do just that — be still.  Be aware of your breath, but don’t force it. Let the experience come to you, don’t analyze. See what you see, hear what you hear, smell what you smell, feel what you feel. Light through the leaves…skittering or birdsong…blossom or decay…calm or grounded…

Alice Peck, Let Nature Heal You, in Mindful