Regulate your Mind and Body by Paying Attention to All Four Parts of Your Breath

Finding Your Power in the Pause with Breath Retention

Did you know there are four parts to the breath? Most conversations centered around breath are broken into two parts: inhalation and exhalation. The space between the inhales and exhales is equally as important. Without the pause that comes at the top of the inhale and the bottom of the exhale you would be breathing much too fast. Hyperventilation is an example of how breathing looks when the pause is removed. 

As you breathe throughout your day this pause is minimal, almost unnoticeable. Every day you breathe in and out over 20,000 times while giving zero thought to the significance. A function of the respiratory system that happens automatically and is vital from your first breath to your last. 

Paying Attention to the Pause

The Navy Seals understand the power of the pause probably better than any other organization. They use it as part of their training because it is an optimizing breath practice that helps you stay calm while improving concentration. It’s no surprise this technique is used by a group of high-performance individuals who are known for being put in extremely tense situations. They understand the importance of all four parts of the breath and how it aids in lowering blood pressure. The Seals need to think clearly at all times and slow, stable breaths help them do just that. 

Breath retention practices help you focus your attention on the pause both at the top and bottom of your breath. By consciously extending the pause to create a breath hold you bring your attention inward. This concentrated activity focuses the mind intently on what’s happening in the body. 

Your breath is your life force, and when you practice breath retention you are cutting off that life force in a controlled manner. Training your autonomic nervous system to stay calm in high-stress situations. 

Regulate Your Mind & Body

This incredibly efficient tool not only teaches the nervous system to remain calm, but it also improves concentration as unnecessary mind chatter becomes less important when your breath is on the line. Your mind begins to devote all attention to the activity at hand. When you are practicing a 30-second or one-minute breath hold your mind has only one focus: a desire for breath. 

Plus you are training your body to be less reactive to strong needs and desires. Slowing the breath and practicing retention from a controlled space helps you to show up more intentionally. Reminding you how good it feels to be in control. And that nice inhalation of air after a retention hold is the best breath of the day. Energy pulses through the body sending a sense of relief to every cell. 

Your breath and your brain are interlinked. One will always follow the other. If you can calm your mind, your breath will follow and if you can calm your breath, the mind will follow. This, of course, works the other way too. If your mind is spinning out of control in rage, lust, or uncertainty, so will the breath. Forcing it to be short and shallow. Moving you into that hyperventilation state where no pause is accounted for. 

Practicing breath retentions help us recognize when we are out of balance and guide our mind and body back into regulation.

Box Breathing

Box breathing is my all-time favorite breath practice. It has been the single best practice for me to clear my mind, feel into my body, and find inspiration. It is as simple as it is effective. 

Conscious breathing does wonders for our health as the respiratory system is connected to all aspects of the body working properly. 

Dedicating time to not only notice your breath but also to pay attention to the pause is incredible healing. It has helped me to see my intrinsic connection to all things as I receive breath, hold breath, offer breath, and am breath. 

Simple 5-minute practice

  • Set a time for 5 minutes
  • Find a comfortable seat, crisscross or hips to heels on the floor, or if in a chair: move to the edge so your feet are firmly planted and your spine is straight.
  • Soften your gaze
  • Bring your attention to your breath.
    • Notice where your breath naturally wants to travel
    • Allow your body to move gently with the breath
    • Guide your breath through your lungs and into your abdomen
  • Exhale all the air out through pursed lips
  • Seal off the lips and inhale deeply through the nose filling up your belly, ribcage, and chest as you count to 4.
  • With your body full of air, hold as you mentally count to 4 again.
  • Exhale slowly and unrushed as you once again count to 4
  • At the bottom of the exhale close off the mouth and hold as you count to 4
  • Inhale and repeat the 4x4x4x4 cycle until the 5-minute alarm sounds.

The first few rounds might feel uneasy or lopsided. But if you stick with it the process begins to be something you can feel. You become calmer and relaxed.

If a 4-count feels easy, count to 5. If it feels tough, count to 3. There is no rule. The best way to begin working with breath retention is to start. Teach yourself how to control your breath. Notice where your breath is traveling. Get curious about what comes up both emotionally and sensationally. These are all clues that will help you better understand yourself and your connection to the world around you. 

5 Minutes a Day

Breathwork is a meditation, and in 5 minutes a day, you will set yourself on a path to health, insight, and growth. Breath retention becomes a fun and relaxing activity that you won’t want to miss. You will begin to notice that moment when your inhale becomes an exhale, and when your exhale becomes the wave of the next inhale. There is a powerful connection between your breath and the world around you. If you are looking to deepen your practice and want some guidance along the way, check out my 4-week self-led online course, Breath Mindset, and feel free to leave me a note here as well. 

A Prosperous and Abundant Future Await Those Willing to Breathe Deep 

Take a Closer Look At Your Nervous System and Get Ready For Change

The new year is right around the corner, and just like that, another year of your life has passed. If you are ready to make big leaps in 2023, better review the highs and lows of this past year. How you handled stress and build bridges towards your goals can tell you a lot about where your work is to create a better future. 

A more prosperous and abundant future awaits those who are ready to ask and reflect on questions designed to both challenge you and move your forward with intention. 

If that sounds like you then let’s get to it. 

  • How did you feel emotionally this past year?
  • How was the quality of your thinking? 
  • Were you able to stay focused on what you wanted to see? Or did you spend too much time in anger and regret?
  • What was your relationship with money?
  • Did you see the growth you were hoping for in your personal and professional life?
  • Did you practice self-care? Or were you continually burnt out?

As you reflect on these questions, take note of how they feel in your body. Are any other lingering truths or excuses popping into your thoughts?

Now raise your hand if you’ve felt awkward or uncomfortable asking for your needs to be met over the last year.

My hand is high in the sky! This past year has continued to challenge me at every turn. Every time I made a leap in the right direction I was tested. As though the universe just wanted to make sure I really wanted something to go a certain way. 

These challenges reminded me that change IS challenging! But if you want to keep moving forward and achieve big goals, then you must get ready to be uncomfortable. 

Getting Uncomfortable

If you’re feeling uncomfortable with big and challenging changes in your life, you are not alone. If you feel like your mind is constantly rationalizing you out of your desires, this is normal. 

Getting uncomfortable is a sign that you are pushing through a comfort area. This is good! It means you are ready for growth and opportunity. 

If the questions in your head sound like any of these…

  • They’ll think I’m a fraud
  • I can’t afford to invest in my business
  • I’m asking for too much
  • Do I really need a coach or counselor for my healing?

And if they are coupled with these sensations in your body…

  • Lump in your throat
  • Knot in your stomach
  • Tightness in your chest
  • Shallow breathing

That means you are being pushed to your edge. Your growth edge. This is where…

  • Fear of rejection is met and challenged
  • Guilt from past events are exposed and released
  • Shame you keep hidden is brought to the light and dissolved

These are not feelings any of us wish to have. But it is on the other side of any discomfort that you will see and benefit from growth. 

Listen to Your Body

Your body is constantly giving you signals. Learning to listen to those signals is a great place to start your growth journey. If you’re ready to make the most of this upcoming year, then pay attention to the stories you’ve been telling yourself. You know, the ones that are holding you hostage in a life you don’t even like. 

Your body can tell you if what you are doing at any moment is helping or hurting you. The stories in your head are sending signals to your body that are either working towards building a healthy and beautiful life or keeping you stuck in an old one. 

The real question here is… What is your worth? And are your thoughts worthy of you?

Your Head and Your Nervous System

The stories you tell yourself day after day about what is happening in your life and what is and is not possible don’t actually live in your head. They live in your nervous system. 

Deep within your nervous system is the root of all your stories, and in order to change, you must identify these stories and pull them out from the root. 

Your nervous system houses your emotions and your energy, and it adjusts itself to protect you always. If your stories are constantly fear and lack-driven then your nervous system is reflecting that. This is why your nervous system is a great place to start. 

You can ease your body, and mind by calming your nervous system. 

This doesn’t mean problems will dissolve. But it can mean that how you react to problems will dissolve. Helping you move faster in the direction of the life more worthy of you. 

Let’s imagine what is possible for this upcoming year…

  • Feeling excited to move forward in your business
  • Ready to create more wealth and abundance
  • Spending more quality time with family and friends
  • Getting your finances in order
  • Practicing more self-compassion and health

All of this is available for you now! When you heal the root of your nervous system stories and embody your worth. 

Now is the time to stop running in circles and move into the new year with ease. 

Breathwork is the Ticket!

The simplest way to heal past stories and move into a more abundant and clear future is through breathwork. 

Breathwork helps you attract and manifest your true desires. Taking the time to slow down and consciously breathe energy and life into your body, you begin to realize where you’ve been stuck. Creating an embodied relationship with yourself is vital for transformation. Breathwork can help unlock these blocks, identify the roots of negative stories, and guide you in visualizing a future worthy of you. A total transformation from the inside out. 

Make this year the most abundant yet!

Give breathwork a try and see how it can calm your nervous system in under 5 minutes. Opening you up to see the world and your place in it through a new lens. More clear, more focused, and ready to break through old limiting beliefs. 

Below is a simple 4×4 breathing technique to get you started. 

You are also invited to watch any of my breathing videos on my youtube channel or purchase Breath Mindset, a self-led 4-week online breathing course designed to help move your mindset and breath into coherence. 

4×4 Breathing

  • Be mindful of your posture. Move your back away from any support and plant your feet firmly on the ground.
  • Begin by inhaling through your nose to the count of four. Let the breath come from your belly.
  • Take a slight pause at the top and feel the air move through your body.
  • Exhale fully through the nose to the count of four. Consciously let go of thoughts and toxins that no longer serve you.
  • Take a slight pause at the bottom and feel the stillness in your body
  • Repeat for five cycles.

3 Mindful ways to invite more peace into your busy holiday season

Skip the Stress and Bring More Presence Into Your Life

For so many the holidays are more draining than energizing. By the time January comes around, we are exhausted instead of ready to concur a new year. Why is this? How can you put a little more “merry and bright” into your season as you bounce from place to place creating holiday cheer?

At every turn you are being bombarded with…

  • Holiday movies and commercials
  • Work requests
  • Family obligations
  • Tradition upkeep
  • Decorating and meal planning
  • Shopping for the perfect gift

Unrealistic expectations of what the holidays should be surround us. I cannot think of a single human I know in my 40 years who’s ever received a car with a huge bow on it for Christmas, yet I see the ads year after year that would indicate that this is actually a thing.

One trip down Pinterest lane and I feel completely unqualified to decorate my home. Picture after picture is gorgeous, and every title exclaims easy and quick tips. Translating these images into my messy life can feel exhausting.

Choose Mindfulness instead

What if you decided to skip the stress this year and approached it from a place of mindfulness? 

  • Being more mindful in your conversations, 
  • Being more mindful about your spending, decorating, and gift giving
  • Being more mindful about your time, energy, and values

How much more rejuvenated would you feel if you felt fully present with those you loved?

I know what you’re thinking… Easier said than done, right?

Adopting a “go-with-the-flow” attitude takes work and time, but the payoff is worth it.

  • It helps you observe your perfect imperfections. 
  • It helps you see where your mind is about things. 
  • It helps you better understand the resistance and pull towards certain activities. 
  • It helps you to stop judging holiday experiences and how others approach them with more tolerance, understanding, and acceptance.

Mindfulness is essential for your mental health. And during the holidays we could all use a dose of that. 

Connecting to more peace in your inner world will help us see and connect to more peace and joy in your outer world. 

The key is to identify mindfulness activities that work for you that you can easily refer to when you feel overwhelmed with obligations. Here are 3 Mindful ways to invite more peace into your busy holiday season.

#1 Breathwork

The best antidote I have for overwhelm, anxiety, worry, and exhaustion is breathwork. Simple breathing practices calm my nervous system when my emotions are running high.

Your mind and your breath are like two peas in a pod: whatever one does the other will follow. When you are stressed and anxious your mind starts spinning and your breath becomes shallow and fast. Taking 3-5 rounds of mindful deep, long breaths will help you feel more centered and calm. And you can do this almost anywhere and at any time. It takes less than 5 minutes and you’ll instantly notice the difference.

Here are 3 breathing practices that can regulate your nervous system and help build resilience against stress during the holiday season.

#2 Focus on what feels right 

Every holiday I am so grateful that baking cookies is not a beloved past-time in my family. Don’t get me wrong, I think it sounds lovely, and I sure enjoy being on the receiving end, but I see the stress it creates. With a bazillion things going on it’s hard to find the time for everything, especially when it comes to activities you are doing out of obligation instead of joy.

From the pressure of holiday parties to the perfect gift, maybe it’s time to slow down and ask yourself…

  • Does this really matter to me? 
  • Who am I doing this for? And is that really important or necessary?
  • Do I have the energy to put into this?

Focus on what energizes you instead of drains you. This is how you can avoid holiday burnout. It helps you to show up and be present in a more mindful manner instead of being filled with resentment. 

#3 Unplug

The busier you are the more important this one becomes. It’s challenging in our busy lives to unplug and spend some needed time with yourself. No distractions. 

This means turning off your phone, no radio, no social media, no beeping, no buzzing, no kids, no friends, nothing! Just you.

Get away from the news and go for a walk, or take a bath. Learn to befriend yourself. Treat yourself like the more important person in your life and selfishly spend an hour nourishing that relationship.

Doing this for an hour will help you be more present with others. As the saying goes, you cannot fill from an empty saucer. 

Peace and Calm

These are just 3 examples of ways to build your resilience against holiday stress. There are a ton of options out there and the best ones are the ones that work for you. Find things that help you come back to calm amongst the chaos. For you it might be a trip to the yoga studio, shopping alone, or getting a drink with an old friend. Find your things and make time for them. Treat them as vital because they are, and your mental health is worth it. 

Gain Better Control Over Emotions By Practicing Being Responsive, Rather than Reactive

Moving From a Reactive to a Responsive Mind

Do you ever find yourself getting upset about something completely out of your control?

Do you find yourself ruminating on a small inconvenience and making a situation bigger in your head than it actually is? 

Do you ever catch yourself jumping from one ego-driven thought to the next only to find yourself angry and upset over nothing?

Last week this quote came up in an email I subscribe to…

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

This resonated with me for a couple of reasons.

  1. Because this principle is at the core of breathwork
  2. Because this is what is practiced by doing ice baths and cold exposure
  3. Because I often catch myself reacting instead of responding

Even with a solid breathwork practice and work with cold exposure, I still find myself having to actively work on this vital statement. 

Over the past week, I have found myself building up an unnecessary story about a situation at work that is nothing more than a minor inconvenience. In the long run, this situation works in my favor in many ways. 

I started a new job less than two weeks ago. One of the things I had mentioned I was anxious about was what to wear because I’ve never had a job where business casual was the attire, and my wardrobe consisted solely of jeans, leggings, and t-shirts. They offered great suggestions to get me going and I went shopping for new work clothes. It was fun! I actually feel a little fancy, and for this low-maintenance babe, it has been quite a treat!

Well, two days ago it was announced that we would be transitioning from our business casual attire to uniform. 

Umm…. What? 

You mean a week after I went out and spent a bunch of time and money updating my wardrobe? Now you tell me I can wear my jeans to work? The very thing I expressed anxiety over last week? 

You couldn’t mention the switchover coming 7 days later? You couldn’t suggest I start with one new pair of pants because change was on the way?

Clearly, I am agitated by the change. But here’s the thing. I actually don’t mind uniforms at all. The idea of not having to think about my clothes is awesome! And I can wear my jeans, so that rules. Bonus and bonus! 

You can feel my frustration in this example; spending time purchasing new clothes that I now have little to no use for and I’ve worn just about all of them once in the last week and a half. Tags are off and it’s a mild inconvenience. When they told us at the all-staff meeting I took it personally. I began to ruminate on how terrible this company was being managed and how poor communication is. 

I realized whoa!

Is this really how I’m going to respond?

And then this quote came through in my email to hit me in the face and remind me of why I do the work that I do. 

I don’t want to react. I don’t feel good getting wrapped into a frenzy over something out of my control–something that I am actually happy about.

Does that sound familiar to you?

Have you ever gotten upset because you weren’t invited to an event you didn’t want to go to?

Do you ever find yourself filling empty space with an argument over nothing in your head? Having imaginary conversations about what you would say to your boss, family member or friend who you are making out to be the bad guy. 

Maybe you’re guilty of complaining about something as silly as the weather. (As though the weather has anything to do with you at all.)

What if instead you learned to accept the flow of life and matched your thinking patterns to a more pliable nature? 

Instead of, It always rains on my day off, you thought, Oh good, we needed this rain.

Viewing your life and surroundings through this lens can have a profound effect on your life.

Moving from Reacting to Responding

This sounds simple, but it’s not always easy. Working on adopting new and healthier ways of thinking sounds simple, but the key is to catch yourself in the moment and make the decision to move from reacting to responding.

Right now, as you read this it seems simple enough, but you’ll find it becomes much harder in the moment. 

Why?

Because your emotions are involved. 

When your thoughts have been triggered into a story about what’s happening in the world around you, you feel it emotionally. You are used to reacting from the ego and your mind becomes busy plotting revenge or feeling sorry for yourself. These triggering emotions are highly addictive AND it’s how you’ve allowed your mind to react for so long that it feels normal and natural. 

Choosing to jump off of a highly charged emotional ego-based story is tough! Your mind will acknowledge that you are creating a fabricated story, but it won’t want to stop. It feels too good. Even if it feels awful, it’s giving you a huge dopamine drip of feelings that validate your ego. 

With practice, you can train your brain to stop the story before it spirals. You can use breathing practices to calm your thoughts and bring you into the present moment. Then you can look at what’s happening in your life and respond from a clear mind. You choose how you want to show up in this moment. 

It does take work at first. After a while, it will become easier and this right thinking will begin to bleed into other areas of your life and more and more positive change will appear all around you. 

Mastering Your Life

In order to become a master of your life you must learn this one skill…

You must be willing to move from a reactive mindset and start showing up in a more responsive way. 

Stop fueling your energy towards stories and events that you can’t change or that have little to nothing to do with you. 

The fastest way to do this is to slow down, connect with your breath, and learn to accept what is.

There is a term used widely in AA meeting that I heard and love; “Acceptance is the key to all things”

Acceptance helps us to surrender to what is and know that it could be no other way. This step alone helps us to respond in more healthy ways. 

The next time you find yourself quickly reacting to new information, jump as fast as you can out of the story you are creating, and start to bring yourself into acceptance with slow mindful breaths deep into your belly. Then from a more focused mind, you can respond accordingly. 

Looking for assistance as you start this process? Join Breath Mindset! This 4-week, self-led course will set you up with all the tools for success!

Invite More Gratitude into Your Life in 3 Easy Steps!

Take One Month to Reflect and Take Action

When you think about your life, what do you see?

  • Are you grateful for your family?
  • Are you satisfied with your job?
  • Are you thankful for your home?
  • Are you pleased with your health?
  • Are you empowered by your voice?

November is the season of gratitude. It’s the time of year that we turn our attention to all that we have. The more things we find to be grateful for, the more things we feel thankful for! So often we focus on the big things, but what about your everyday needs that are met without any thought? Things like…

  • Indoor plumbing
  • Wifi
  • GPS system
  • Fresh clothes out of the dryer
  • Electricity

Once you start to recognize all the things to give thanks for you find it’s the little things.

  • Warm socks
  • Snuggles with your cat
  • Laughter
  • Hot beverages
  • Your breath

From the sight of a rainbow after a storm to an unexpected moment of contentment during a traffic jam, gratitude helps us keep in mind that things are better than we may have previously believed. 

Learning to appreciate all that we have, from the roof over our heads to the people in our life, stems from all those times growing up when we were told to be grateful for all that we have. And it’s a hard thing to wrap our heads around because as kids, what we have is all we know. We aren’t thinking in terms of more or less, it just is. Once we start to understand what it means to show up wholly in our life, we begin to understand how big all the little things are. 

The small things are the big things

We hear this word, grateful all the time. We are told from a young age how important it is, but what does it actually mean? How can you develop a sense of gratitude in your own life?

Life is moving fast. You have bills, deadlines, carpools, and schedules bouncing around in your head. You have relationships and goals that you’re working on. Who has time to think about gratitude when you’ve got dinner to cook?

Gratitude is a buzzword, and we all get the basics: seek out the good in life. Research shows how beneficial this simple practice can be for your mental and physical well-being. The feeling of gratitude is practiced through action. 

Gratitude is a verb

Just like love and hate are things we feel, so is gratitude. It’s a practiced emotion. So by actively recognizing the good that surrounds us, we put gratitude into action. This recognition holds a transformative power.

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” -Willie Nelson

Gratitude pulls our mindset out from negative viewpoints and into a well of good ones. Now that you have some ideas in your head, start identifying them in your own life daily. Here are 3 ways you can begin practicing gratitude today. 

  1. Keep a Gratitude Journal

How would your life change if every day you started and ended the day by writing out 3 things you are grateful for? When you start identifying what you are grateful for you start looking for things to be grateful for. Counting your blessings trains your mind to see the good in your everyday life. As a bonus, you can look back on your journal and reflect on the blessings of the past and watch how much it grows through the years. 

Finish this sentence: “I am so happy and grateful now that…” 

I can be anything you want. Writing out things you are happy and grateful for begins to attract those things to you. Bob Proctor gave us this nugget of knowledge in the widely successful movie The Secret. It’s one of the simplest ways to get your mindset into that of gratitude. 

  1. Write Thank You Notes

When you begin to notice all the blessings of your life you will want to share this feeling with others. A great way to show appreciation is to write a thank you note. Nothing long or fancy, just a simple thank you is enough. When you take time to write out a thank you note it can boost your mood. Signaling a positive outlook on the world reflects back more positivity and gratitude. When you take the time to let someone know they are appreciated not only takes your mind off your own troubles, but it lightens the load of another. 

Next time you’re at the store pick up some thank you cards to have on deck. Then when the moment comes you are ready. Don’t think about it, just do it. Either as an active practice of gratitude in the moment or take an hour once a week or month to commit to writing and sending a couple out. 

Read more about the unexpected joy of sending a card here.

  1. Breathwork in Gratitude

When you start to breathe deeply you start to connect to what is real and true in your world. It’s not always what you had in mind but it is always worth your time. Using your breath to breathe in gratitude helps create a cycle of positive energy moving in, through, and out of you. This type of mindful reflection teaches you to accept without judgment. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to accomplish so much and we often forget to slow down and appreciate all that we do. Breathwork is time to sit silently or with a recording that actively reduces stress. 

When you think thoughts of gratitude and appreciation as you take mindful breaths we get the sensation that you are actively inhaling that which we are grateful for. 

Try them for one month!

Give these 3 practices a try. November is a great time to flex your gratitude. Online challenges and games are everywhere this time of year and as we move closer to Thanksgiving we can reflect on good instead of commercial craziness. 

If you are in the Seattle area, I’m hosting 3 90-minute Yin, YogaNidra, and Sound Healing workshops throughout the area the week of Thanksgiving to guide us all into a deep feeling of gratitude to be carried through the holiday season and beyond. 

7 Coping Skills to Survive Your Grief This Holiday Season

Healthy Ways to Navigate Grief During The Holidays

The holiday season is not always merry and bright. Sometimes it can feel downright awful. Especially for those experiencing grief. Not just in the loss of a loved one, it could be a divorce or the loss of a job or pet. Maybe this is your first holiday without your kids or your parents. It’s normal to feel apprehensive about the days ahead. Unfortunately, there is no roadmap for getting through your grief. There are, however, tips and tricks used by millions before you that can help you navigate the holiday season. 

Identify Coping Skills

Grief is a complicated emotion and it’s hard to know what will trigger it. You can prepare for certain events and situations but often the unexpected moments take your breath away. As we approach the time of merriment it’s a good idea to identify a couple of coping skills you can turn to when grief hits you unexpectedly. 

The best coping skills are the ones that work for you! But all coping skills work better when you practice using them. Below are 7 coping skills that help you connect in the tough moments that leave you less than cheery this holiday season.

  1. Be Clear About Boundaries

You are not required to participate in anything. It is okay to say you need time and space. You do not need to be present if you don’t want to. Too often we experience pressure to attend family gatherings, holiday parties, or yearly outings. Although this may come from a place of love, you get to decide what is okay for you. 

Before you say yes to any holiday gathering, sit with it. Do a couple of deep breaths as you mentally see yourself at this event. Feel what you feel. Connect to your readiness for such an occasion. Then you can commit or decline from a place central to your needs. 

Balance is the key. Jumping into all the activities could be good for you, but so could sitting out on one or two. Don’t push yourself and acknowledge that this season will have tough moments and that you will survive them all. 

  1. Honor and Create New Traditions

Consider how to handle certain roles ahead of time. Filling the empty space left by a loved one can trigger grief. You can avoid these moments by preparing for how they will be handled. This can be extremely helpful, especially if children are involved. If Dad always lit the tree or cut the turkey, come prepared with new traditions to fill that now empty role. Creating new roles for yourself and others to help honor and fill a hole can be both healing and powerful. It’s a great way to remember traditions that once were and adapt to new beginnings in a celebratory way.

Keep in mind that creating new memories doesn’t replace old memories. Acknowledge any feelings of guilt that arise in the process of assigning roles or switching up your routine. It’s okay for your feelings to be felt as you process the passage of tradition.

  1. Volunteer

They say that the quickest way to lift your mood is by helping another. When we take our attention off of our own grief and sadness by lightening the load of another, we are lifted by that act. There are hundreds of ways to volunteer and lots of organizations looking for support. 

Check in with your local service clubs, churches, retirement homes, and soup kitchens. 

You may even find it so healing that the volunteering continues past the holiday season. 

  1. Gifts in Memory Of

One of the more challenging things about grief is that everyone grieves differently. This can make for some hard dynamics. Family events might seem disjointed and forced and it’s not your responsibility to make others feel comfortable. 

As you make space for your own grief, you must allow others to find their way through their own. 

One way to invite everyone together is through gifts that honor your loss. It’s a great way to say I understand and love you without forcing anyone into anything they are not ready for. Making a memorial ornament or donating to the deceased’s favorite charity for the family members is a great token of recognition. Something as simple as serving their favorite dish can unite a family as you struggle to figure out the new normal. 

  1. Look for Gratitude

No one should be asking you to have it all together, and no one should expect you to not feel angry, upset, or frustrated by your grief. When you’re in grief it’s important to feel what you feel. Identify the emotions. Allow them to be there. This in itself is a form of gratitude. Taking time to acknowledge yourself and your feelings is huge! And something to express gratitude about. Use this as a launchpad into discovering all there is to be grateful for in this process. 

I had a client who recently lost her brother. A friend of hers lost his brother 8 years ago. He told her that he was jealous of her grief because it was so new and raw and rich. That he missed feeling all the emotions of grief. Even though life seemed impossible while he was grieving he was grateful for his ability to feel love for his brother so deeply.

Gratitude comes in many forms. Seek it where you can and hold it to add wonder to this challenging time. 

  1. Find Your Breath

Connecting to your breath can be one of the most empowering things you can do while grieving. There are a ton of ways to start connecting to a deeper breath:

  • Going for a walk
  • Meditating
  • Yoga

Breathing practices can be done in as little as 3-5 minutes and can be used to help you release tension from your body. 

Here’s a simple one you can do anytime you are feeling overwhelmed and need to calm your nerves:

  • Find a comfortable seat (or in your car, or in the supermarket line).
  • Place a hand over your abdomen and one on your heart (if not driving).
  • Allow your belly to gently inflate as you inhale through your nose.
  • Hold for a moment at the top to notice your nice full round belly.
  • Exhale gently through your mouth while making a drawn-out “SSSHHHHHHHH” sound. (like air leaking out of a tire)
  • Repeat 5-10 times. 

In Chinese medicine, grief is housed in our lungs. You can begin to release the pain associated with grief by healing your lungs. This is done through conscious breathing practices like the one listed above. 

  1. Take Time For Yourself

This is the time to practice self-care. Your loving family and friends have their own grief issues and can only support you so far. Grief is often a road we walk alone. This doesn’t mean hide it away or bury it inside– it means you must find a way to build a life around it. Like planting a garden, you allow room for growth. Taking time for yourself to process is a big part of moving through uncertainty. Consider…

  • Taking your grief for a walk
  • Treating your grief to a bath
  • Visiting your grief in a photo album or home video

The trick is to allow grief to be there without consuming you. Refer often to the breath practice here or find one that works for you. I have a Breathing Through Grief meditation on my YouTube channel and many other breathing practices to choose from. Explore the best practices for you, so you have that toolbox built.

Just as you allow happiness to flow into your life, allow grief to do the same. It’s okay to openly grieve and let others know this is a challenging time for you. Be kind to yourself this holiday and turn towards your breath to help the emotions pass through with ease. 

If you are interested in joining me this coming Sunday at St. Matthews Church in the Renton Highlands, I will be leading, along with Pastor Kacey Hahn, our Breathing Through Grief workshop. In this 90-minute session, we will explore what it means to grieve through the holidays. 

I would love to hear from you and know what works for you when you feel overwhelmed by grief. And if you need a nonpartisan voice to listen to please contact the 24-hour crisis hotline at 206-461-3222

In closing, remember you are not alone. When grief is shared we find that many are dealing with their own set of grievances and together we can find a light to carry us through. 

Calming Breathing Practices to Help Your Little Monster Survive Halloween Fright!

Mindful Breathing Activities to Calm Little Goblin Minds

Beware the goblins and monsters tucked away behind your well-behaved child’s sparkling eyes. Halloween is here and with it comes overactive imaginations, make-believe, sensory overload, and candy–candy everywhere! 

It’s hard not to get swept away into the ghostly spirit and even harder to calm down the tender-hearted as sugar pumps through their veins. Have no fear, mindful breath practices are here to slow down the sugar-fueled zombies. 

The stores are filled with candy and little minds prepare for their big costume reveal. We all feel the urge to let loose and give over to the excitement of the season. Halloween is a time to put on a new mask and get caught up in the fun, but how do you calm those hungry eyes down when it all becomes too overwhelming?

Calm the Mind with Breathwork

Deep breathing can be used as a coping mechanism. Incorporating breathing practices with the theme of the season will address their sensory needs and help guide them to a more regulated state.  

Addressing your child’s specific needs 

  • Sensory overload
  • Overactive imagination
  • High Anxiety

Can help you move them into a more mindful state with these deep breathing exercises. 

One of the great things about deep breathing exercises is that it teaches kids how to feel into their bodies. When they can better understand how their bodies react to stimulation they will respond in a more self-reflective way. With practice, deep breathing exercises will teach them to be more mindful in situations that previously caused an outburst. 

Practicing deep breathing can be a powerful tool for both children and parents alike. 

Breathing tools anchor your body into the present moment, helping you to be more aware of feelings and sensations. Once you feel fully aware inside your body, it’s easier to approach the external world with a more mindful attitude – Making it a powerful way to reset your day, your nervous system, and your attitude. 

Simple Mindful Breathing

In as little as 3-minutes, you can practice these breathing techniques with your little vampire. Invite these practices into the day and see how ghostly fun they can be. 

Look for opportunities to invite in breathwork: 

  • Present it as a game
  • Get all the kids involved
  • If you see a prince/princess alone or sad, invite them to play
  • If your wizard has wild eyes invite them to participate too
  • All can be done on their own, or as a group
  • It’s fun for witches from 2-876 years old

And remember, it’s okay to indulge. Have a sweet, get dressed up, and go to that party. But never leave home without your spell book of mindful practices to keep the spooky world around you in control. 

Deep Pumpkin Breathing

  • Find yourself a pumpkin and place a finger (or a wand) in one of the natural grooves. 
  • Glide your finger up towards the stem as you take a deep breath in. 
  • Hold for a moment as you move your finger to the next groove.
  • Trace down the next groove while slowly exhaling. 
  • Hold again at the bottom as you move to the next groove.
  • Continue working your way all away around the pumpkin. 
  • Inhale up one groove, and exhale down the next. 

You get to determine the rate you breathe. It can be done with a carved pumpkin too! 

Using a pumpkin or even a picture of a pumpkin can work. The small grooves make this an easy-to-follow practice and it can be done with any size pumpkin. For a more grounding practice grab a small pumpkin so little hands can hold them and feel the weight.

Belly Breathing

Alternatively, you can deepen this practice by placing the small and light pumpkin on their belly as they lay flat. 

  • Let them feel the pressure of the pumpkin and the way their breath and body move underneath it. 
  • Balancing the pumpkin with their hands they can continue with the 4-count breathing (in for 4, out for 4) as they focus on the rise and fall of the pumpkin.
  • Continue in this manner for 5-7 rounds to ease the mind and feel grounding in the body.

A great exercise for anyone who needs a moment of calm and a personal favorite for alien brains who have been exiled into time out. 

Candy Corn Breathing

No candy corn is needed to perform this one! But if you happen to like this classic treat the triangle shape is a great visual to follow. 

  • Visualize candy corn in your mind, or even a picture will do.
  • Notice the triangle shape and place your finger at the bottom right corner.
  • As you inhale to the count of 4, glide your finger up the long side of the candy corn.
  • Pause for a moment at the top as your finger movers around the top of the candy.
  • Exhale to the count of 4 as your finger glides down the opposite side.
  • At the bottom, your finger will glide back to the starting point as you hold empty air for a 4 count.
  • Repeat this triangle breathing pattern for 5-7 rounds. 

A great way to calm the mind is coloring. Consider printing out an image of candy corn for a coloring activity either before or after the breathing. 

This exercise helps your astronaut focus on the moment and lowers anxiety.

Spooky Breathing

This is similar to Candy Corn breathing but the long hold is on the inhale instead of the exhale. It’s also a great way to add sound to your breath. When sound is added on the exhale it helps you to push out more air. And the more air you push out the more room you have to bring in fresh air, allowing it to travel deeply into your body. 

  • Print out a picture of a ghost like the one above. 
  • Place a finger at the bottom point.
  • As you inhale to the count of 4 your finger travels up the right side of the ghoul.
  • Hold your breath in for a 4 count as your finger moves over the ghost’s head.
  • Open your mouth and exhale for a 4 to 6 count as you make a spooky ghostly sound.
  • Pause for a moment at the bottom of your empty lungs.
  • Repeat 5-7 times, or as many rounds as your little superhero can sit still.

This is a fun activity you can do as a group. Either tracing the image or being led. The kids will want to slow down and breathe deep so they can have a nice long spooky sound. You could add movement by having them find something (or someone) to focus on as they inhale in deep, hold still, and move towards their focal point as they exhale in sound. 

Not only does this help center their nervous system it also puts a group of kids into a similar breathing space, so everyone will be more centered as the day progresses. 

Another alternative to spooky breathing is Dragon Breath. Same concept, but on the exhale have them stick their tongues out as they try to torch the room around them with their breath. This activates the back of the throat which connects to the vagus nerve and sends an automatic message to the brain that both soothes the nervous system and your little dragon too. 

Mindful breathing practices like these help to develop better attention and focus. They are so much fun to do around the house or in a classroom. As your cowboys and cowgirls learn to manage their emotional well-being, breathing exercises are something they can use for a lifetime. This Halloween remember…

Trick or Treat and don’t forget to breathe deep!

Renew Your Life By Building An Intimate Relationship To Self

Breathe New Energy In and Rediscover How Amazing Life Can Be

When was the last time you felt truly alive? Do you associate the feeling with an experience you had as a child or do you refer back to the first time you did something that completely moved you? Has it ever occurred to you that you can feel alive – full of wonder right now, on this average day where nothing life-changing is happening? All it takes is the right breathing practice to drop you into the ever-present moment and open your senses to being fully alive. 

It’s easy to feel invisible and unimportant in a culture that is focused on youth, beauty, and wealth. When you compare your lives to others or try to live up to an expectation of media it steals your joy and takes you out of the richness of your life.

You can create that feeling of something new by changing your energy. And you can change your energy by changing your breath. And you can change your breathing patterns. And you can begin that process right now!

By combining strong circular breathwork with the right mindset, you can invite new purpose into your day. A half-hour of dynamic breathing can clear stagnant energy (prana- breath) stuck in your body and dislodge thoughts of worthlessness, shame, or regret. With new energy (prana- breath) floating through these channels, you can invite opportunities for new experiences that help you feel alive in your body.

Dynamic breathing helps you access the sacred vibration of the current moment.

If you’ve never done dynamic breathing before it can feel both exciting and scary. Tingling throughout your entire body brings up a whirlwind of emotions, sensations, and thoughts. When approached with curiosity it can open you up to see the infinite being that you are. With practice, you can transform your humdrum day into one that is creative and full of passion. 

Breathwork is a gateway that helps open you up to an intimate relationship with yourself. 

You have been molded your entire life by the outside world of expectation. 

As children, we learn by observation. We find a sense of community in modeling what our family does. We are taught right from wrong and are too often plopped in front of a television that shows us what is valued and what isn’t. 

We spend very little time actually looking inside and deciding the right path for our unique life. We are molded by our schools, our wardrobe, our friends, our religions, our media. By the time we are 18 we are completely programmed into a world designed to push an agenda of doubt, fear, and lack, leaving us with high stress, higher anxiety, and suicide rates that are on the rise. 

Collectively we realize something is off and that something must change, but how?

Could it be as simple as looking inside and finding our breath?

It’s a start. 

Yin Yoga was my entryway into breath. I didn’t truly understand what was happening but I could feel this intimate relationship with self starting to bloom. In stillness, I could feel my inhalations work into the tight spots in my body followed by long slow exhales that allowed my body to melt deeper into these sensations. I was feeling my body for the first time in years. Breathing life in and out, I started viewing every sensation as a reminder of being alive. 

When you start to connect to yourself through your breath you gain access to a profound sense of intimacy. You begin to discover your body in a new way. You understand that to feel is to be alive. You discover that you’ve been limiting your breath and stopping its flow to avoid the discomfort you feel. As with all intimate relationships, breath reveals you to yourself, slowly, calmly, and from a place of compassion. If you are willing to be brave enough to allow all the sensations of the body to be there then you begin to open up to a deeper understanding of life. And it begins from the inside out. 

It is possible for you to experience life again with new eyes. A renewed understanding of…

  • Joy in your body
  • Self-worth
  • Creative inspiration
  • Lust for life

All the things that help you live a more fulfilled life are waiting to be touched, and it’s all inside of you right now. 

Exposing yourself to breath is simple enough to begin, but it takes patience and a willingness to be uncomfortable too. It’s through the sensations of the body that you’re able to…

  • Uncover limiting belief patterns
  • Clear away your negative mind-chatter
  • Lean into the life you’re really looking for
  • Expand outside of your normal activity
  • Release thoughts and sensations that no longer serve you once and for all

There is a thrill in awakening your senses through breath.

Passion is ignited, but this time it’s for yourself as you look further in and discover the most intimate relationship you will ever be in–the one with yourself. 

Your ordinary life has the potential to take on more meaning, and it can be done in as little as 5 minutes a day to start.

Breathwork is a gateway to understanding how energy moves through your body.

If you are ready to unlock this intimate journey into self then look no further than your breath.

  • Step outside your comfort zone with ease
  • Feel what’s like to have a body
  • Connect to your higher self
  • Walk with inspired thought
  • Realize you are the energy you seek

An enriched life begins the moment you decide to take a look inside, and your breath can lead you there.

If you are interested in learning more please check out my YouTube channel for simple videos to follow and sign up for my 4-week breathing course, Breathe Mindset. Take the first breath in a new direction and enter the next phase of your journey with more presence and purpose.

The Big Lie About Meditation and How to Break the Myths

Achieving Bliss During Meditation is not what your think. 

You’ve probably been told a lot about meditation as a source for generating more mindfulness into your life. You probably even have stories you tell yourself about your capability to achieve such “enlightenment” from these practices. 

Most people I talk to about meditation have this feeling that they are doing it wrong, or that it is something only achieved by the super spiritual or highly dedicated. People brush it off after trying it only a couple of times. 

I can easily see why. 

It is incredibly hard to sit still. Our minds our full of chatter about our day, our world, our relationships, and the stories we tell ourselves about who we are in relation to these things. 

Who has time to sit still when all this is going on?

We have been fed a lie about what meditation is and how it’s supposed to be achieved. 

Because I get asked about meditation a lot, I find people are always surprised at my thoughts about it. And, of course, my thoughts are a reflection of my personal experience with it. 

  1. Consistency is the key 

I believe people do give up on meditation too early. Consistency is how we learn to still the mind. Like any practice, it must be practiced! Sitting in meditation takes a lot of willpower. Continually calming the mind and body to be still takes work.

It can be challenging to…

  • not get up and check your phone
  • not lose your mind to stories you play on loop in your head
  • not scratch your itchy nose
  • not adjust how your sitting
  • not start planning dinner 
  • not think of the 108 things you must do right now!

You have been living with a busy mind your whole life. You shouldn’t expect it to change overnight. It’s a practice and one that needs consistency to access those moments of clarity.

My advice: Start small. Set an alarm for 3-minutes, then 5-minutes, then 7-minutes. Build up to a 10 or even 20-minute practice in small increments. 

If you try to do a 30-minute meditation on your first time out the gate, you are setting yourself up for failure. 

Every time you can calm your mind and body down during a meditation practice it’s a win. Every time you can consciously bring your awareness into the present moment you are meditating. Even if it’s just a practice of continually guiding yourself back to the present 50 times in that 3-minute timeframe. You are building your mindfulness muscles. 

  1. Stillness Comes in Many Forms

Sitting in a meditation seat (cross-legged on the floor or on a cushion) doesn’t work for everybody. The last thing you want is for your legs to fall asleep or start giving you trouble a minute into your practice. For some laying down is the way to start, and for others seated in a chair. 

There is no hierarchy of meditation. How you find stillness within your mind and body is your business. 

My advice: Focus on what brings stillness to the mind and the body will follow. 

Your mind and your body are like two peas in a pod, it’s hard for one to not match the other. If the body is relaxed the mind will soften, and if the mind is at ease so too will be the body. 

If the thought of sitting in stillness is overwhelming or causes you to have anxious thoughts, then perhaps a walking meditation is the best place for you to start. 

Yin Yoga is what brought me to meditation. I love it because the poses are slow deep holds that typically range from 3-5 minutes each. An hour of yin yoga gives my mind and body plenty of time to find stillness and focus with the luxury of knowing that every 3-5 minutes I have an opportunity to move, to wiggle out any nervous tension before settling back into the next pose. 

Letting go of expectations of how stillness is found can be a powerful and positive way to bridge the gap in your mind about your ability to meditate. 

  1. Your Breath Is Your Anchor

When you consciously connect to your breath you are anchoring yourself into the present moment. The only moment there truly is. The place where all discovery takes place and the only time change can occur. When you are ready to open your life to a higher awareness your breath is a great place to start. 

My Advice: Quit putting pressure on yourself to think of nothing, and instead think about your breath. Focus on the inhales and exhales. This anchors you into what is happening in the moment. 

Breathwork is Meditation

How many times have you “tried” to meditate and heard yourself saying…

”It’s impossible for me to think about nothing.” 

Well… good news. 

I totally agree with this statement. 

I have been meditating regularly for years and it has never once been my experience to have a completely still mind free from all thoughts. 

Never once. 

In fact, this is the very thing that held me back in my meditation practice for years!

It wasn’t until I realized that breathwork was meditation that I was able to move past this myth. 

Now I’m not saying it isn’t possible. I’m only saying it hasn’t been possible for me. 

Breathwork helped me to see my thoughts as part of my meditation. The trick was to learn to not hook on any one thought or story and instead see them as a leaf on a stream just passing by. Not hooking to anything. This is where my work was; constantly bringing my mind and body into the present. I quit berating myself for having thoughts and allowed them entrance, but nothing more. 

Developing a strong breathing practice is my anchor. It keeps me in the present as I dance in the sensation of each inhalation and melt deeper into myself with every passing exhalation. 

The pause at the top and bottom of the breath become moments of luxury to which I find myself floating endlessly in this stream of breath. Allowing the breath to be my anchor broke down the walls of myth I had attached to meditation. It has allowed me to build new ideas and thoughts about my capability to achieve enlightenment.

Below is a Breathwork practice that consciously brings you into the present. I invite you to try it with this new sense of possibility and let go of old myths about meditation. 

Mindfulness Meditation

Find a comfortable place for you to achieve stillness. Turning off all alarms, phones, or beeping and buzzing computers and screens around you. If just for the next 5 minutes. 

Remember your place of stillness could entail a walk in the park, or getting into your zone by deep stretching or crafting, or whatever. 

If you plan to be more traditional, lay down or take a comfortable seat. Your seat can be cross-legged on the floor or hips to heals, perhaps seated on a cushion for support. If you are in a chair, move to the edge so you can firmly place your feet on the floor, hip-width distance apart and allow your spine to be free from any support so it can grow long.

Once you are set up we begin.

  • Ground into the earth beneath you. Feeling supported
  • Close your eyes or soften your gaze to one focal point in front of you.
  • Settle in by asking yourself…
    • What kind of awareness have I brought into my day?
    • What are the quality of my thoughts?
    • Have I spoken to myself and others in a positive way?
    • Am I aware of the words I’ve choosing to use?
  • Notice how you’re feeling right now, and allow all emotions to be present, knowing they can change at any time and allow them to.
  • Bring your attention to the tip of your nose and begin noticing the cool air as it flows in and the warmer air as it falls out.
  • Bring awareness to all sensations of the breath
    • How does it feel in your body?
    • Where can you feel it vibrate in your throat, lungs, and diaphragm?
    • Does it move with ease? Or does it feel labored?
    • Where does it naturally want to travel?
    • Are there any pockets of tension that restrict your breathing?
  • Pay attention to the expansion each inhale offers and pay attention as stress and anxiety dissolve with every exhale. 
  • Guide your attention to your spine and feel it float tall on an inhale and ground down on an exhale. 
  • Get curious about where your breath is traveling
  • On your next inhale direct your breath deep into your belly allowing it to balloon out nice and round
  • On the exhale actively release any tension around this area. 
  • Next breathe into your ribcage, allowing your side body to naturally widen on the inhale and contract back on the exhale.
  • Staying curious about any emotion or sensations that come up during movement. 
  • Let go of any expectations of what you think should be happening and just experience what is.
  • Now breathe deeply into your heart center. Filling up through the emotional center of your being. 
  • Exhale out any tightness of tension in the area. 
  • Continue to move the breath into your back body. Allowing the inhales to expand into your entire back as the shoulder blades gently and naturally separate and contract. 
  • Notice how each area of your body receives the breath and responds to the exhales. 
  • Moving with curiosity
  • If your mind has wondered, it’s ok, simply guide it back to your breath. Slow and steady.
  • Experience this current inhale and exhale
  • Be receptive to all the subtle movements and sensations you’re feeling
  • Feel your body naturally open and release
  • Let it be loose, unclench your jaw, and release tension from your brow
  • Notice the natural flow of your body. 
    • How does your body move with the breath?
    • Does it feel soothing?
    • Are the places of discomfort and pain dissolving? Lightening? Releasing?
  • Where are your thoughts?
    • Are they passing through with ease?
    • Do they seem anxious?
    • Are you aware of kindness and openness to the moment?
    • Mindfulness is about cultivating awareness to our thoughts not disconnecting to our thoughts.
  • Become aware that you are aware.
  • Notice all sensations and thoughts as an observer. Not reacting. Just becoming aware. Being engaged in the experience of this ever-present moment.
  • Allow kindness to flood in on your next inhale and wash out any residue of stagnation with the exhale
  • Inhale in a vision of what you want from life and exhale out any resistance to this desire.
  • Notice how these new and nurturing thoughts feel in your body
  • Inhale in gratitude for showing up for yourself today
  • Exhale out any lingering expectations
  • Continue to breathe into this new awareness for as long as feels inviting for you and when you are ready you can blink your eyes open and continue on with your day. More mindful, more present, and with more focus. 

When you commit to showing up and consciously breathe for 3-5 minutes per day you are building an awareness that guides you into a deep meditation practice that previously eluded you. 

As your practice develops you will cultivate a deep awareness that gradually changes your perceptions of the world and your place in it. 

You will begin to see more kindness in the way you speak and interact with yourself and others. Mentally, emotionally, and physically you will shift your observations into a life more intune with your true nature. 

It’s time to let go of the meditation lies and open yourself up to the meditation practices that best suite you. Meditation is possible. No matter how busy your day or your mind. Don’t let the myths behind meditation hold you back from experiencing the joy and enlightenment that can come from a deep understanding of self. 

Keep consistent, find your stillness, and anchor into your breath. Sometimes it just takes a perspective shift to open us up to new heights. 

What Autumn Can Teach Us About Gracefully Letting Go

Accepting What Is and Releasing What Has Passed

Autumn is here and with the changing season comes an opportunity for change within our own lives. Fall teaches us how beautiful it can be to let go. To let the leaves of our past transform into vibrant red, orange, and yellow memories – Memories we shed without fear knowing new revitalization is on the way. The days are getting shorter and we prepare for winter by watching nature release to the earth what no longer serves. What a great example and leader for our own lives. 

Let us be like nature and gracefully let go. Accepting the circle of all things that arise and dissipate in this life. All things have a beginning and an end. 

Our breath is fluid within us from the first inhale to the final exhale. A constant reminder of the ebb and flow within our own internal ecosystem. Fall is a great time to get outside and breathe deep into our lives and let go of what no longer serves us so that we too can transform.

Accepting What Is

Acceptance is the answer to all things. It puts in the ever eternal now and helps us be at peace with all that is. If you seek lasting joy and happiness then the wisdom of acceptance is part of your path. When we attach to anything too much it ends up owning and controlling us. This includes the ego, our internal source of all dissatisfaction. 

Taking a walk beneath the changing colors of autumn reflects to us how joyful release can be. In spring we wonder at the new growth of the tree so delicate and fresh, and in fall we explore the crisp rich colors crunching beneath our feet. The air is fresh and we find ourselves another year older. Now is a great time to ask ourselves…

  • What am I ready to let go of?
  • What am I ready to accept?
  • What areas of my life need change?

We tend to hold on to things, people, jobs, and memories as though they define who we are or our importance in this world. We forget that all things flow like a leaf breaking from a branch to float along a stream. Change is inevitable. You must choose to either accept what is or resist and be angry when change happens without your acceptance or permission because it will. To live in the beauty of this moment you must let go of fear and stand in harmony with the cycle of all things.

Willing to Let Go

Trees are so beautiful and strong. Confidently they shed their lush covering and allow themselves to be exposed to the harsh world of winter. The trees understand that in shedding what no longer serves them they can draw more energy within to help them survive all winter so that in spring they can begin the process again. 

There are things in your life right now that are holding you back. Things that are stealing your energy and preventing you from making the necessary transformation and growth in your own life. Now is the time to ask…

  • What am I afraid will happen if I let this go?
  • Where is my energy better spent?
  • What inside of me is ready to transform?

Letting go takes trust. Autumn is a reminder of the earth’s promise to us. We know that every season will be followed by the next, yet we have a challenge accepting this in our own lives. A new day is waiting, but we must shed the old growth to make room for the new. 

Reflect on your life right now. Everything in your life is a result of new beginnings and things you’ve let go. The house, the job, the relationships, all of it a cycle in and of itself. We can see this in nature and our own lives, but we all get stuck on what is possible when we focus on comfort over growth. 

Winter is dark and cold but promises renewal if we are willing to risk being exposed to the hard truths of life. Allow fall to help you let go, find strength, and prepare for what’s to come. 

Breathing Into Fall

Autumn is a time to reflect on what has come to pass. A time of harvest, and a time to clear out stagnation in our internal landscape to prepare for a new season. Breathwork helps move trapped energy through our body. It’s a way of processing unresolved emotions and suppressed feelings without having to relive trauma. It is a way for our internal world to support us through the seasonal changes of our own lives. 

We can use our breath to release from our body and mind what is no longer needed. We can let go and focus our energy on growth, joy, acceptance, and gratitude. Mindful, conscious breathing is a way to move out the trapped emotions of your past so you can let go and confidently move towards new growth. 

Below is a guided breathing meditation. It is written to be done seated or lying down at home. You can also modify it to be used while walking through the autumn fall – A way to help move stuck energy and allow yourself to gracefully let go and move into acceptance of what is. 

Guided Breath Meditation for Letting Go

There is an audio recording of this guided breath meditation on my YouTube Channel. You can access it here. 

  • Take a comfortable seat or lay down. Allow your back to float long and find ease in the body. 
  • Soften your gaze and bring your attention to the tip of your nose. Becoming aware of each inhale and each exhale.
  • Slowly begin to lengthen each inhale through the nose. 
  • Exhale out the mouth, slow, long, and mindfully.
  • Mindfully bring each breath deep into your belly as you allow it to expand on the inhale and relax on the exhale.
  • Let your breath be the most interesting thing in your world, allowing thoughts to float in and out of your mind like clouds passing on a summer day.
  • Notice your body relaxing more with each exhale.
  • Close your eyes and see yourself in nature. 
    • Notice the colors
    • Notice the temperature
    • Notice the smells
    • Notice the sounds
    • Notice all you can about your scenery
    • Notice the emotions you are feeling
  • After you have settled into a clear vision, focus your thoughts on one thing you would like to release attachment from.
  • Keep focused on that one thing and deepen your breath around it. Use every inhale to bring in gratitude for all it has given to your life and use every exhale to gracefully release it to the world.
  • Continue this for 10 or so rounds of breath.
  • Now shift your attention to the transformation. 
    • Imagine your life once you’ve let go of this one thing. 
    • Imagine the positive impact this change will have.
  • Dwell here in this new reality as long as it feels good. When you are ready to end this breathing meditation, take a few deep rounds of breath and move into a final stretch
    • Circle sweep your arms wide and up to the sky on an inhale, bringing your hands together in prayer.
    • Exhale as you guide your hands down through your center line and allow them to rest in your heart center for 2-3 more rounds of breath.
  • When you are ready, blink open your eyes, and allow the sensations you are feeling to guide you into acceptance.

Breathwork is a great way to let go and heal. If you are interested in learning more follow me on Instagram at Breath_Mindset and join my 4-week online course, Breath Mindset.