gratitude-a-thond day 2040: focus on the breath, dummy


breathe-logo-for-facebook-1024x683There are lots of things going on for me right now–some fantastically great and some so emotionally exhausting and provocative, I feel like I’m in the process of falling into the pit of an erupting volcano, while a tornado of hungry wolves whirls overhead. Nothing like that fight or flight response in the middle of the night to ensure you get a good night’s sleep.

The only answer, and I think there’s only one (besides addictive or illegal drugs, that is), happens to be free and pretty darn handy, since you have access to it 24/7. That, of course, is breathing. Actually, it’s not exactly breathing, it’s turning your attention to breathing. That’s a fine point. I always find it irritating when someone says to just breathe. I’m like, “I’ve been breathing for 59 years, and it hasn’t prevented me from being forehead deep in gobs of anxiety.” It’s the attention part that’s important here. You’re always breathing (or your dead), but when you pay attention to that in and out breath, that’s when the magical calming-the-fuck-down, Hey-I-can-cope thing happens.

So, for today, in the department of gratitude, I put forth breathing. All I have to do (and you can do it too. Come on, play along) is listen to yourself breath in, then breath out. You know exactly how to do the breathing part, all you have to fine-tune is the pay attention part. Put on your focus pants, block out the rest of the world and remember you’re a self-contained one-man-band of de-distress-ifying power. I can forget this very easy way to prevent crazy, so thought you might like a gentle reminder too. You’ve got the goods. Yes, you.


gratitude-a-thon day 950: portable calm

An ABC Carpet display. Makes me calmer just looking at it.

The American Psychological Association (APA) says 52% of adults who participated in its survey acknowledged that this year’s presidential election is a big source of stress.

But in between the cracks of the 24-hour news cycle and social media lies the quiet that can change you.

In this place, we are always alright, even when we’re not. Enter inside and settle, connect to your breath, and there it is — you’re ok-ness.

I’m finding meditation more helpful than ever these days. Frazzled, I jump into a breath-a-thon and within a few minutes, my shoulders have stopped hunching and my mind is re-setting to a calmer, more balanced place (my ban of all things Donald hasn’t hurt this state, either).

No matter where you are, you can just sit on down and breathe.

Endless gratitude for this thing we carry with us, that’s always available and free for the taking. Only six days left. No problem.