I had an interesting topic all picked out for today. An analogy designed to get your mental gears running and snap you out of your daily grind. But as I sat down to write, I realize, I’m completely stressed out. My breathing is shallow. My thoughts are racing. I’m probably having a small scale panic attack. I say small scale, because I’m still able to intellectualize and ponder what to write, I’m still writing to you now… But thoughts race through me like scared rabbits looking for a bush to hide behind. Nothing sticks. Everything and everyone in my mental menagerie is trying to run for cover and wait out the storm.
I can’t change the storm. There is a lot going on. Most of the goings on are my perception of changes coming. Change terrifies me. I usually like change, after the fact, but only after. After I can look back and see the good in it. But I’m in the uncertain period of the actual change. Right now I don’t know what the change will bring.
With every silver lining you will find a cloud attached.
So today, I’ll simply ask you to breath with me.
Stop, Sit, Ground.
Find a safe quite place.
If you can, step outside and take off your shoes and socks. Place your feed on the dirt or in the grass.
A quick warning here. A couple weeks back I was in the need for grounding. So I took the afternoon off and went to a park about 30 minutes away, right by the Sacramento river. It was a beautiful day and there was a wide grassy field between me and the river bank. The open grass field was spotted with the occasional tree. Each tree had decided it was time to grow more of themselves, so they had dropped tiny seed pods all over the field. Mostly invisible to the naked eye, but quite visible to the naked foot. I felt like I was walking on thorns to get to the rivers edge. Word to the wise, choose your grounding path strategically.
Where was I? Ah yes, connecting with the earth.
Find seat, or ground standing, at your discretion.
Take a moment to close your eyes and listen. What do you hear?
I am fortunate to be away from a busy road and my ambient noise is the chattering of birds calling out to each other. But I’m not uniquely able to enter this practice. It’s not about being in a peaceful place, thought that doesn’t hurt. It is about being aware of your place. Perhaps you are near a busy street with cars going by. Perhaps you are on a busy sidewalk with people bustling by. Be aware of the stimulus. Acknowledge it. Now release it.
Deep Breath in, breathing in for 10 seconds. Fill your lungs completely, as if your body hasn’t had oxygen in weeks. Hold the air in your lungs for 3 seconds. Let your body savor the air. Then release exhaling long for 10 seconds. Then experience the void, holding an empty lung for 3 seconds.
Repeat until you realize you no longer need to repeat it. Take these steps until your body has reset it’s rhythm. Your body will begin to naturally take in more air.
You may find that as you settle into a quieter place the stress reaction attempt to speed things up again… This is okay. Take a breath and start over.
So often the subtle mind leads the body. Your body is experiencing a stress reaction because your mind is convinced you are in peril… You are not. Your wisdom knows this. You know you will be okay. You are transitioning. You are becoming the breath leading the body. You are becoming the tail wagging the dog.
Now, With your eyes fully open, look around you. Take in all that the scene in your world has to offer. Acknowledge it, pass it through, don’t judge it. You may be looking at a dirty house. You may be seeing graffiti on a mailbox. Maybe you’re in a park with a waterfall. Try to lose the mental words you would use to describe it, pretty, ugly, broken, new, instead simply witness it. Be the observer.
Back to your breath. 10 seconds in, hold for 3. 10 seconds out, hold for 3. Repeat.
Next tap into your skin. Maybe it’s cold. Maybe you feel the sun. Perhaps there is a breeze blowing across the hairs on your arm. Observe, try not to judge. Just be there.
Back to your breath.
Tap into your smell now. Are there any odors here? Close your eyes and take them in. Perhaps one smell jumps out, perhaps the blend becomes a neutral smell that has no impact at all. Acknowledge and move on.
Back to your breath.
Lastly, if the location works with this option, see if you can tie in your taste. Maybe there is a mint plant nearby and you can grab a piece of mint to taste. Maybe it’s lunch time and you can grab a sandwich. Or, if you’re really lucky, you decided to experience this practice near somewhere with ice cream. Find your taste, experience it, try not to judge. Be with it.
Back to your breath.
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling better already.