Dearest Friends,

Sometimes I wake up and the day to come stretches before me like a bleak tundra, devoid of life and low on hope, joy, and enthusiasm. That’s okay. Some days are like that.

Then, sometimes, they start to add up. Day after day feels like a Sahara desert of to-dos and to-don’ts, responsibilities and endless cycles of the same, rattling, echoing, aching thoughts. 

Days turn into weeks that turn into months that then turn into what feels like lifetimes.

Sometimes, this is part of human experience. Sometimes it’s not. If it’s not part of yours, maybe someday it will be. It just as easily may not. If not, consider something else difficult that you face. What is your insurmountable Arctic tundra?

In any case, it’s part of my experience. 

And sometimes it isn’t.

When it’s not, it’s because I remember what I learned about breathing.

Breathing seems pretty obvious, right? All life breathes somehow, and without even having to think about it.

That’s why at times, it can be so deceptively simple.

For example: I wake up. The bleak landscape unrolls before me as worries and concerns march in on cue. I almost wish I was still asleep when I pause and stop.

I take time for four deep breaths: In through the nose, out through the mouth, watch my diaphragm rise and fall, each time taking in a little more air than last, and breathe out a little farther. Simple.

That’s when I feel my heart again, plodding along steadily and watching out for me as usual. I’d almost forgotten about it.

It says “hope.”

It says, “Take one moment at a time, darlin’. Life is lived here, now. One moment at a time.”

And I am at peace.

There is so much more that breathing fuller can do. For me right now, four deep breaths is all I need to return to myself again and keep showing up. That’s it.

Next time you’re feeling lost, or to-dos are dragging at you, or ancient monsters sneak up to cause trouble, give yourself the benefit of four deep breaths.

This is a technique called box breathing. You begin at the number 1. You breathe in for 1 second, hold it for 1 second, breathe out for 1 second, hold it for one second. Then you move onto the number 2, following the same pattern. Breathe for 2 seconds, hold for 2 seconds, release for 2 seconds, hold for 2 seconds.

You can go up as many numbers as you’d like, following the same pattern.

As you continue breathing, it allows you to feel your heart and you have the opportunity to listen to it. Find out what your heart is asking you for.

This may be something to assist you in finding that inner peace that we all desire. Keep breathing and keep up the good work, guys.

P.S. If you are experiencing any resistance to this concept, that could be something you could choose to take a look into. Thank you for your honesty.

Many loves to you and yours.

-MLR