Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Breathe … A Year-End Message

"In the darkest hour the soul is replenished and given strength to continue and endure." ~ H.W. Chosa
Know this. This journey on which we have embarked, is hard.

OK, I said it. We can sugar coat it all we want with uplifting quotations, slogans and aphorisms. While these are all important elements of our motivation, our journeys can get the better of us even with such signposts to guide us.

There are times even when we know our way, the direction to proceed and the pathway to take, we can become despondent about how far we have yet to travel even knowing how far we have come.

There are countless movies where the main characters, lost in the jungle or forest or wherever, see the light at the edge of the darkness and emerge, only to find miles of impassable valleys, gorges or more jungle ahead. We can all feel the desperation. We've all been there.

"When will this journey end?" we wonder. We want an end to the struggle for our hero on the big screen. We wish this for ourselves as well.

It's as if the signpost reads: "PEACE - 100,000 km.

"I thought I accepted that I was beaten by my son's addiction, I've survived the pain of my daughter's disease," are thoughts running through our minds. Once again we are exhausted, down on one knee one hand on the ground, the other steadying ourselves. We attempt to get up. Something tells us to stay down.

It may be time to listen to the gentle Universal voice that is saying, "Your soul needs a rest, traveller. It cannot continue at this pace forever. It is no good for you if your soul is debilitated."

Like a general who must know the limits of the men under his or her command we need to know our own limitations. We need to be able to listen to our bodies, our minds and our souls. What brings us to this point of exhaustion can be a small incident or a myriad of thoughts or occurrences that build over time causing the little cinema in our heads to run overtime with double features of horrors we are sure MUST transpire.

The brink may be reached also by success. Perhaps we ARE doing well, our children seem to be making at least better decisions driven more by their own small voices than the disease within. We've worked hard, harder than we've ever worked to better ourselves. We've progressed along our recovery journeys through hills, valleys, rain forests and wastelands. We are perhaps more self aware than we have ever been. We've travelled the 100,000 km.

Who wouldn't be exhausted?

Now may be the time to stop, make camp, rest and recuperate.

Now is the time to BREATHE.

An angel taught me the 4-7-8 breathing technique that can have the effect of immediately lowering one's heart rate. Inhale deeply from the diaphragm for a full one-thousand one to a one-thousand four count, hold for a similar seven count and exhale slowly for a full one-thousand one to a one-thousand eight count. This cleansing exercise has immediately noticeable results.

Conscious breathing is not something we often do while in the throes of our journeys though it can be. Breathing can take many forms, a vacation, beginning a "habit" of daily walks in the park, trips to museums, meditation, or creating a place to be alone with our thoughts. Breathing can be a passageway to true self actualization. The respite we allow ourselves even when we believe continuation of our journeys is pointless or a cruel taunt from the Universe can be liberating. A short pause for introspection can rejuvenate us and allow us to take those few, small, next steps along our journeys.

We can break camp, refreshed, perhaps with new talents to put in our quiver of tools and resources we are gathering along our way. The immediate talent or tool, is the gift of rest, an occasional "take five" command from that little voice inside that has our best interest in mind.

We will find, in our absence the Great Creator will have kept everything in place. We've not lost any progress or even time. We'll find events have transpired while we've been regenerating that have moved us along our journeys without any action on our part.

Life, for better or for worse, will have gone on without us. And that signpost now reads: PEACE - 10,000 km. We can laugh at our arrogance. We are proved once again to not be in control and by pausing for a bit we find we have been moved, miraculously along by a Power greater than ourselves, a  Gentle Taskmaster always with us through our victories, failures, progress and retreats.

Just Breathe in, let it out, and let it go!

… keep coming back

"Today, when I think about the year ahead, I will focus on the good that is coming."
 ~ Melody Beattie