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. 

Navigating Pandemic-Induced Grief

Moving Forward and Transforming the Pain

“Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape.” – C. S. Lewis

In March of 2020 our relatively stable lives and economy were uprooted. The news became a constant stream of COVID-19 questions and concerns. With no solution or cure to be found we all went into lockdown. Little did we know at the time that it would take roughly two years before we were tip-toeing back into society. Collectively we experienced an incredible amount of trauma and it feels like no one is talking about it.

With limited opportunities for us to get out and experience our family, friends, and work life we had to face this new reality alone. We sat home alone in our grief as we realized things would never be the same again. The loss and pain that comes from a dramatic change in our day-to-day life can be overwhelming. 

Now that we are out living our lives once again it is time to start processing the huge emotional shift the last two years have caused. 

Lockdown

You remember the early days of the pandemic. Everyone was shocked but also enjoying some downtime at home. We were all baking bread and re-organizing our rooms and giving lots of unwanted items to Goodwill. But then, what we thought was going to be 3 weeks dragged on for another 2 years. We began hopping on Zoom calls with our friends and drinking wine in the middle of the day, and we started to realize how precious our fragile economy was.

People started to break up and our mental health plummeted. We were not okay. And as a result, we were realizing that we haven’t been happy in our lives or at our jobs, and we started grieving, at home, by ourselves, in a very unhealthy way. 

We were home, but we realized we had been burnt out, and we were used to living with a lack of focus and endless fatigue. 

We hadn’t had time to stop and breathe and because of that, we didn’t know how to stop and breathe.

Suddenly we were less engaged with friends and family online. We became tired of Zoom, and the Great Resignation began. 

As we headed into year 2, with no end date in sight, we became more divided as a nation. Polarized by politics and caught between doing what is right and taking care of our mental health. 

Two years isn’t long in the grand scheme of things, but it shifts how we communicate, do business, and how comfortable we are in a large room of people. 

The world opens up

Slowly we emerge on the other side. COVID still moves silently among us. It is more contagious but less deadly and it’s time to get our lives back on track. 

Now the fear of socializing begins. Now we must relearn how to leave the house. How to show up for events, and how to be responsible for ourselves and each other as we do so. 

For many, this has been equally as challenging. Many are questioning what this post-pandemic life will be like. Many are feeling anxious about the future and question whether or not we will need to shelter in place once more. 

There is a void, and we are all seeking new common ground in a world that has been utterly shaken. 

Working Through Pandemic-Induced Grief

Most of us shy away from feelings of grief. We understand the overwhelming effect grief has on the body and would prefer not to feel that pain. This is one of the reasons it’s so hard to connect with someone who just lost a loved one in death. We understand their suffering and we don’t want to acknowledge that hurt and unhealed wound inside of us, so we stay nothing, or we stay away. 

This makes grief one of the most challenging emotions to breathe through. Although we collectively understand that grief is inevitable, it is also one of the hardest to face. 

Grief is a form of love. Love that has been lost in some fashion. When we turn our thoughts toward love, transformation can begin and we heal and grow. It is when we decide to stuff it in and not deal with the hard emotions of grief that trouble arises. Overworking, substance abuse and isolation are common masking tools that might numb the pain but result in illness, depression, or more grief.

Collective Healing

It is time to come together and heal from this pandemic. I am thrilled to be joining forces with Pastor Kacey Hanh from St. Matthews Church in the Renton Highlands to bring you Breathing Through Grief: A three-part series dedicated to helping our community heal.

The first of the three is Oct. 2 and we will focus on this very topic. We will come together and breathe through the hard and uncomfortable. We will support each other through the grief and come out stronger together on the other side. 

This 90-minute workshop is open to all regardless of gender, race, sexual preference, or religious affiliations. Grief is a common thread and together we will always be stronger. 

This is a time to listen, share, breathe, and explore. Grief is love that we don’t move on from, but that we are open to moving forward with new eyes and appreciation. 

Learn more about all 3 workshops and register by clicking the link here. 

Mindset: The Battle Between the Conscious and Unconscious Mind

Program Yourself Into a Growth Mindset

  • Why is it that when it comes to trusting the universe we immediately put parameters on what is possible?
  • Why is it that accepting yourself as an infinite being of light is so hard for us to believe? 
  • Why is it that we feel we must consciously understand the magnificence of the unknown in order for it to work in our favor? 

Why is it so hard for us to let go and trust without a need to understand or figure it all out?

Unconsciously we are moving and performing tasks all the time with zero thought behind them. Our motor skills are busy working away so our conscious mind can think about a hundred different things. Even though we work between the conscious and unconscious daily, it seems there is a part of us that believes we have to understand everything in order for it to be possible for us. 

Our conscious mind likes to make sense of our environment. It likes to see the line between step A and step B. It likes to know right from wrong, and it likes problem-solving. The unconscious mind isn’t concerned with any of that; its only concern is supporting the beliefs and narratives programmed into it. 

When you are looking to grow your mindset it is important to take a close look at the relationship between your conscious and unconscious mind. Both play a role in how you see your life and both have insight into where your work will be. 

Seeing Isn’t Always Believing

There’s a scene in the second Matrix movie, Matrix Reloaded, where Neo and Councilor Hamann are talking. The councilor is describing the machines that keep them alive in Zion that he knows nothing about. He understands he doesn’t need to know how they work in order for them to work. He then says, “I have absolutely no idea how you are able to do some of the things you do, but I believe there’s a reason for that as well.” I have always loved this scene because it reminds me that I don’t need to know how everything works, I just need to know that it works. Like plumbing or electricity. I trust these things to work in my life and I don’t put energy into trying to figure them out. It’s a knowing. 

Your conscious mind needs to learn to let go of trying to figure it all out. It needs to connect with your inner knowing so you can find happiness and begin to reprogram the negative unconscious patterns into healthy ones so you can get where you want to be. 

This feels impossible at first, but others have done it, and you can too.

Conscious Thought vs. Unconscious Thought

We are always taking in and processing our environment. We use our lens on reality to determine what is necessary information and what we can discard. Your conscious thoughts narrate to you what your unconscious mind is programmed to feel. Or rather, your unconscious mind is using a lifetime of experiences based on early developmental programming to make decisions. 

This is why change and growth can be so hard. 

You can want to change and have every intention to change, but until you are aware of the unconscious programming behind your decision-making, you won’t change. 

Think of a friend you know really well. You know all their patterns and you can easily see how they get in their own way. Now let’s suppose you know their mom, and she’s the same as your friend. You can see how or why they adapted certain unhealthy or healthy programming. It was unconsciously passed down to them. So when someone says “you’re just like your mom” you can begin to see how or why that happens. 

If you have been conditioned to some negative or destructive patterns in your unconscious mind and you are ready to explore the root cause, you better be ready to do some work. 

Your thoughts and feelings are going to lie to you to keep you safe based on old programming. And if you want to move beyond that programming you have to be ready to step outside your normal decision-making skills and start to create new pathways in your brain that support this new way of thinking. 

This is how you move into a growth mindset. It is the difference between saying, “That’s just who I am” and “I can do better.”

Once you begin this process your unconscious will, over time, start to adapt to this new conscious way of thinking and you will no longer be trapped in your old narrative. 

The Conscious Dreamer

If I were to ask you…

  • What do you want out of life? 
  • What do you want to see and experience? 
  • What kind of job do you want? 
  • What kind of relationships do you desire? 
  • Where do you want to live?

Your conscious mind would start dreaming up all kinds of things and you would start to feel the joy and gratitude of having those things. It feels good! Dreaming is fun. But then If I asked, why aren’t you doing those things? Your conscious mind would move from dreamland to the analytical mind. It would start to tell you all the reasons why it wasn’t possible for you and you would be pulled back into those limiting patterns programmed into you from your childhood. 

  • What if you decided to allow yourself to not know how or why, but stay in the dream state? Remember it’s that conscious need to know everything that slows you down and gets in your way. 
  • What if you just decided that what you wanted was the truth for you and started acting from it? 
  • What if you started to accept your needs as worthy and true without your inner critic judging you or trying to dictate how it will happen?

Unconscious Servant

All of your unconscious thoughts are programs that run on the information you feed them. You become a slave to these programs until you start consciously taking your power back. You get to create your reality and your unconscious mind will become a servant to the new programs you feed it. 

All that you want and desire can be true for you when you decide to work through and rebuild your unconscious mind. 

Trying to create a new narrative takes work because you can’t plan everything out. All you can do is learn to sidestep the old programming by paying attention to the feelings and triggers associated with it. 

Every time you have a great idea that is silenced by the unconscious telling you it’s stupid, you are present at this crossroad. You can continue to belittle yourself and the things you want or you can stop yourself and start inputting a new narrative. 

You don’t need to know how it all works, the universe is way too big for us to understand. The moment you start to play out the same stories in your head about why or why not something is possible for you, you leave the field of the infinite. 

A Record of The Past Does Not Need to Determine Your Future

Up until now, you have made decisions based on your past experiences. Some of these experiences were so traumatic that you relive them constantly and your unconscious mind keeps them handy in order to protect you and keep you alive. 

For example, when you are meeting new people you probably have some fear of rejection coming from your unconscious mind. This fear might not make any sense, and everyone else is probably feeling it on some level too, but fear is stronger than logic, and your unconscious mind is there to protect you from the rejection you felt as a child. 

A simple (not easy) way to look at consciously reprogramming this fear would be to allow yourself to imagine the desired result and use those emotions to feel something different than fear. The unconscious will slowly begin to view the scenario of meeting new people as safe or fun. 

Feel Your Emotions

We are emotional beings. It is important to put emotion behind what we want to feel. Like attracts like. So if you are always thinking the worst then that is what the unconscious is programming you to believe and experience. 

Your mindset is all about what you believe is true for you. 

As you decide to grow your mindset you will inevitably be faced with old programs that must be transformed for you to make new decisions. You must learn to stay focused on the end result and use emotions you want to relate to. 

Your unconscious mind is going to fight for its survival, so this may feel like a tug-of-war. Like you’re lying to yourself, but that’s where trust comes in. Just keep focusing on where you want to be and know that it is true for you. Like a baby throwing a tantrum, it will calm down and see you are no longer interested in going along with and rewarding bad behavior. 

Take Action

You’ve probably already noticed some of your limiting belief patterns and have asked yourself, “why do I always do that?” It’s your unconscious mind running the show, and it is outdated, and time for change. 

The best tool I have to help me through the hard times when the inner child in me is acting out and resisting change is to breathe. Consciously staying focused on what results I want, I calm my body and mind with some slow mindful breaths. Inhaling for 4 seconds and exhaling for 4 seconds. 

The longer I work on my own programming the fewer tantrums I see. I have developed an entire 4-week course to help others do the same so you can move from a fixed to a growth mindset with Breath Mindset. 

Come join me and together we can identify and reprogram your unconscious mind into the conscious reality you seek. 

Is Too Much Social Media Putting Your Nervous System on High Alert?

It Might be Time to Take a Stimuli Break. Here’s How.

The Internet has brought the world into our homes and has inundated us with a constant thread of news to absorb or ignore. Social media platforms have become a hub of information designed to fit our personal lens on reality. With the average of 3 hours a day spent on these platforms, one must question if this constant dopamine drip is a healthy activity or a complete waste of time.

It’s so easy when you have 15 minutes to spare to just open the apps and see what’s happening with your friends and family. It’s fun watching all the kids grow up and having cherished family moments. It’s nice to see friends sharing adventures and all the pets they love. As you mindlessly scroll you begin to drown out the ads that pop up in between every third post you see. But they must be having some sort of affect on your brain chemistry. Ad after ad sprinkled in with family and friends you get to appreciate from afar. Nothing too close, nothing too real, nothing to sincerely and honestly engage with. 

It’s safe to judge and like from your couch while your brain feels scattered and your concentration dwindles. 

Nervous System on High Alert!

This constant stream of stimuli has a direct affect on your nervous system. And as we are becoming more and more programmed by our devices to feel that immediate dopamine high, we are allowing side effects to creep in. Things like…

  • Spending more and more time on social media.
  • A quick 15-minute check-in turns into an hour-long scroll.
  • Jumping from one social media account to the next out of boredom.

Today we can’t focus on one thing too long without looking for a new distraction, and this causes stress. And stress creates unhealthy pathways in your nervous system. 

Stress and the Nervous System

We are all wired differently based on a variety of things from our past and our general demeanor, so these stress patterns will look different for everyone. 

Stress enters our body as a result of our natural (and programmed) reactions to… 

  • How safe you feel
  • Your sense of belonging
  • Your sense of Identity
  • How well you create or state personal boundaries

Social media platforms are a great place to express yourself with easy access to quotes and memes and images that can easily be shared. But only when someone feels safe to do so and this comes as a result of how our needs were met or not met during our developmental years. 

When threatened, our body goes into a fight or flight state, and our stress skyrockets! When this sympathetic side of your nervous system is triggered you might find yourself easily frustrated, annoyed, and irritated by what you see online. 

When you post something you might feel anxious or overstimulated by the responses. Or you may find yourself completely frozen in what to do in life so you use social media as a numbing agent to avoid responsibility and keep you in a procrastination mill. 

These are all emergency responses caused by trauma in the body. In our busy modern world, we are becoming more and more accustomed to living in a continuous state of stress.

We need to allow our nervous system time to find balance. 

It’s time to push against our social media habits and use our time and energy towards the pursuit of becoming a more present and calm human. 

It’s time to take a break from social media. 

Taking time to step away from the constant momentum of social platforms is challenging because self-care doesn’t come with any instant rewards. It takes time to slow down and tune in to what you need. 

For the next seven days instead of continually checking your phone, challenge yourself to take a break. It’s a great way to find out if you have an addiction and a refreshing way to identify where some self-care is needed. 

Here are 3 tips to help you break the habit for seven days and unplug.

Create a Goal

We are so programmed to mindlessly check our social accounts that we may find ourselves on an hour-long drone without even realizing it. That’s why it is practical to create a goal for your social media break. Make it simple and write it out where you can see it. Consider things like…

When I feel the urge to check social media I will…

  • Go for a walk
  • Pick up an old hobby
  • Write out the grocery list
  • Clean the bathroom
  • Call a friend
  • Read

Depending on how much time you find yourself on social media it is a good idea to have a list of things to do instead to keep your mind productive. Try things that keep the phone out of your hands to avoid any accidental peeking.

Delete the Apps!

Okay before you freak out, I’m not suggesting deleting your accounts, just remove the app from sight. Create steps between you and the platform. If Instagram isn’t on your phone then you have to log into your computer to get into your account, and who checks Instagram on their computer? 

At the end of the week, you can simply re-download the app and sign back in. (If you decide you want to.) 

At the very least, turn off all notifications for the week. Set yourself up for success by removing those beeps, buzzes, and flashy notifications. 

Announce the Break

This is helpful because you are openly letting others know of your intent. You can include things that let your support group know that you need their help. Encourage them to reach out to share news or go for a walk. It’s always nice to share your challenges and successes with others, and a break from social media is no different. 

Find Your Breath

Taking a break from the socials helps you to be more present in your life and breathwork is a great way to help you engage in the moment. It’s simple and effective. 

As part of your seven-day detox, I invite you to try breathwork. In my online course, Breath Mindset,  I have students do breathwork 3 times a day, every day for one month. 

  • 5 minutes of energizing breathwork in the morning.
  • 5 minutes of balancing breathwork in the afternoon.
  • 5 minutes of calming breathwork in the evening.

By doing 15 minutes of breathwork a day you start to create a more balanced nervous system and the brain fog seems to dissipate into clarity. 

If you are interested in learning more about breathwork, reach out! I have a ton of resources and it’s a great way to set your phone down and stay present in the moment. 

Breathe in Nature Ends with a Trip to Mason Lake

Come Explore a Variety of What You’ve Been Missing!

It’s hard to believe Summer is coming to an end. The kids are heading back to school, Fall routines are taking flight, and just like that, there is a hint of Autumn in the air. It seems like just yesterday we gathered for the first Breathe in Nature adventure back in April. Yet, here we are, arriving for our final adventure of the season. A variety of experiences and high elevations await us for this last and most challenging of hikes. 

Last March when I was first putting Breathe in Nature together I had no idea the impact it would have on the participants, the instructors, or myself. I learned a lot about planning an event outside in the questionable weather of a PNW spring. I didn’t consider people getting sick, and I jumped in without a backup plan. 

Lucky for me, everything and everyone was as delighted as myself just to be in communion with other humans for the first time in over two years. Every event came with its own set of challenges. From heavy rainfall, unexpected last-minute location changes, and even an army of mosquitos! Despite all that it couldn’t break the spirit of this crew. 

It seemed that every adventure came at the right time and attracted exactly who needed to be there. 

Every meetup since April has been building in length and/or elevation, all leading to this final variety pack of experiences that will guide us through an all-day affair. 

Here’s what to expect…

Foraging with a Pro

Mason Lake will be a journey through all the highlights. As we start out on this 7-mile hike we will reflect back to the first time we met in April. It was freezing and wet, but all came to enjoy Alissa Allen and her expert advice on foraging. We even went home with a guidebook and warmed our tummies with some fresh needle soup. 

Although Alissa won’t be joining us for this final retreat, her knowledge will carry on as we talk about foraging mushrooms! What to look for in early fall and when and where to forage. 

Gong Immersion

Jill Mattern was up next in what was supposed to be an outdoor gong bath under the full moon. The forecast had other plans that led to a last-minute indoor move that ended up being a cozy way to let go and open up to the sounds of the gong. Jill stepped in again in June after Jess got sick for another last-minute swap which led me to believe that Jill is one of those amazing humans who can adapt on a dime. And this time it was as intended, and set in the great outdoors.

Both gong experiences were soothing, and on our way up to the Lake On Sunday, Sept. 11th Jill will delight us once more with the sweet sounds of her gong as we take a break to refresh our bodies and minds before moving into the steep switchbacks leading to our destination. 

Photography in Nature

As we trek up the high elevations of the day we will revisit the tips and techniques presented by Matthew Brashears. Using the panoramic views of the climb we will take our time (and preserve our energy) stopping to take photos as we check off some of our favorite perspectives from that educational adventure.

Glacier Dip

Once we crest the high rocky peaks we will begin the descent into the cooler side of the mountain as we walk through lush green lands to arrive at Mason Lake. This stunning lake is surrounded by trees that offer privacy and an inviting atmosphere to jump on in and cool off after a long sweaty incline to get there. 

Lynar Deluca will be there to guide you through another cool dip if you choose. Helping to push you past your limiting perspective and safely guide you out of your comfort zone, Lynar offers great support to help you feel safe in the chilly glacier waters. 

Don’t forget your suits! And yes there will be a private changing station.

Nature Journaling

The amazing Jessica Winters was supposed to join us for a day of nature journaling that never came to pass. That darn covid had other plans for Jessica and the series was forced to move forward without this adventure. 

As we spend time soaking in the sun at Mason Lake there will be an opportunity to pull out your journal and get creative. Drawing, writing, or just reflecting on the day. This is your time to do as you will and you can bet Jess will be back next year to delight us with her wisdom. 

Breathwork, Lunch, and Closure

Breathwork is a huge part of this series and something we’ve done in conjunction with each outing. This will be no different. Along the route, we will practice a variety of breath practices to keep us moving and focused.

Once at the Lake we will do some dynamic circular breathwork to clear our minds and open our hearts. This will prepare you for the chilly water should you decide to get in for a spell. After which we will enjoy our lunches, good conversation, and amazing scenery before making the long haul back down the mountain. 

Here we will close the series for the year. Having a wealth of information to grow from and new friends to cherish. 

If you are interested in joining us there is still time! Here is the link with all the information. We will meet at the trailhead at 8am to beat the crowds, and plan on spending the whole day on the mountain. Returning to our cars, and life around 4pm.

This is a great way to see what you’ve been missing and get an idea of what is in store for Breathe in Nature 2.0 coming next spring. 

See you on the mountain!

The Beginningless Circle of Life and Breath

Birth, Life, Death, and Rebirth

There are few things that happen in life that are so impactful that you remember every detail of the event. Those moments that quite literally take your breath away, when time stands still and every sensation in your body feel heightened and alive. These are the moments that often change who you are. From recalling a collective moment in history to the birth of a child, or the moment you realize you’re in love. These events all have one thing in common: your breath. 

This past Monday I was busying myself with creating another YouTube video for my business. I was fiddling with the lights, setting up my backdrop, writing notes to look at just off camera, and practicing the routine. It was pretty mundane. All the while I’m focusing my thoughts on the importance of staying consistent with my business and fighting off my inner demons of doubt.

I barely even took note when the text came in, too busy in my own little world to slow down, I merely flicked the text off to the side to read later.

Finally, after 90 minutes of prep, I was ready to begin filming. I pulled my phone out to put it on silent and froze. 

Before even reading the text, the sender’s name was enough. 

My friend’s 3-year battle with cancer was over. My breath rose to my chest, and the fight against my tears began. 

Suddenly nothing else mattered. Instead of filming, I sat and allowed myself time to cry. I cried for my own selfish loss of a friend. I cried for her husband who had kept so positive during the whole cancer journey. I cried for her two young boys who would grow up without their Mom. I cried for her mom who had just lost a child, for her sister who had lost her best friend. I cried for our community to which she had given so much.

I remember every detail of the moment. 

When my phone beeped for a second time I didn’t hesitate to jump, expecting another detail into this beautiful human’s passing. What I got was unexpected. 

Another friend shared the birth of her perfect baby boy. Again my breath jumped high into my throat, and I had to work for a few minutes to bring it back into my belly so I could handle the wave of high and low emotions flowing through my body. 

Breathwork is the flow of the eternal

Breath is our constant companion in life. Here from our first breath and traveling in direct relation to our emotions until our parting exhale. 

In the matter of one hour, the breath of one departed and was replaced into the life of another. And so continues the beginningless circle of life. 

In Buddhism the Wheel of Samsara (which is a huge amount of theory that I have little knowledge of) speaks of the continual flowing. Moving on, from one moment to the next, including from one life to the next. 

Yoga philosophy says “samsara is the energy that keeps us trapped in human existence – experiencing birth, life, death, rebirth, and so on.” 

Breath is Beginningless

You and I are breathing the same breath today as our ancestors breathed before us. 

  • The intelligence Steve Jobs exhaled out is available for you to breathe in. 
  • The heart Mother Teresa exhaled into the world is here for you to breathe in.
  • The courage Martin Luther King Jr. exhaled to his people you can choose to inhale into your life.
  • The leadership Nelson Mandela exhaled out is waiting for you to inhale in.
  • The compassion Jane Goodall shows for all life is welcoming you to inhale it deeply into your being. 

Whatever you are breathing out into the world is here for others to breathe in. It is a beginningless circle of who and what we are. 

It connects and divides us. 

And in the big moments that change our lives, it is what we hold onto just so we can make it through. 

Your breath is in an ever-changing flow of inhales and exhales, of receiving in and offering out. You are part of the flow, and when the dance that is your life ends another will be waiting in the wings to start their own. And so the dance continues. 

The beginningless circle, Samsara, the wheel of life. 

Breath and your life

Prana is breath. Your life force. 

  • Every breath you have is directly connected to the thoughts you think. 
  • The thoughts you think play a huge role in how you view the world. 
  • How you view the world determines so much of the emotions you connect to
  • Learning how to control your breath helps bring focus onto what you want in your life. 

With so much emotion running through my nervous system this week it was vital for me to dip into my toolbox of breathing techniques and find balance when I wanted to curl up and cry. 

Continuing to sit with my breath in my daily practice became super challenging when all I wanted to do was run from my thoughts. But my commitment to a healthier mind and outlook kept me showing up and ultimately helped me feel the flow I needed for peace. 

My dear and beautiful friend is not lost to us. She is here for us to breathe in her love for community. She is there for me whenever I need the courage to stand up for what is right. She stands with me whenever I feel doubt and offers me her breath of confidence.

And as for the new baby boy with his blank slate of experiences and emotions. With every inhale he is taking in the same breath as his ancestors, guiding him from the past so he may step into a future dance that is waiting for him to embrace and continue the dance we are all swirling in. 

From our first breaths to our last, we circle through the dance of life, and we will be here again and again in many different forms in the beginningless circle of life and breath.

If you are going through grief or are hurting in any way, know that those you hold dear are always available to you. You can breathe in the best parts of who they were and carry that into your life and your experience. The cycle is never-ending and we are all just walking each other home.