Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hey, where'd my breath go?

So I'm not going to lie to you. I've been feeling a little off center these past few days. I was working on my exam all last week, yoga all weekend, and then went out Sunday night, worked until 1AM last night and am not going to be home for an evening again until next Thursday. So my brains a bit fuzzy, plus I have some changes happening in my life and all it amounts to for me is I find myself focusing too much on the past and the future.
I find when I'm a little burned out it's easy for me to get in the habit of floating around in the future or lamenting about the past. I like imagining I know how things will go and what I'll say when I get there or sometimes I think about what I would have done differently in the past (although not as much, some people like to hang in the past, I'm definitely a future dweller- which isn't any better). So there I find myself just bumping around in these made up realities and it totally ungrounds me because there's only one place you can ground yourself and that's right now.
So I have to get back to now. One of the easiest ways to do that is focus on my breath. It's a trick they use in meditation to make yourself present, but it's neat cause it works just as well anytime you want to use it. One of our teachers says the breath is a great tool for staying present because you always have it with you.
Try it next time you notice yourself racing this way or another. When I'm walking down the hall I'll notice my breath and the next thing I know I'm moving slower and I can actually notice the world around me. Or I'll be driving and I'll notice my breath and then I'm driving a little slower and I'm noticing cool stuff happening, like the wild turkeys in the fields or the crazy driver swerving around in front of me. I guess there's always the fear that if we all slow down we'll be late, but if you drove 110km/hr instead of 100km/hr and you're driving half an hour to work you'd only lose 5 minutes. And the real funny thing is that when you rush around and don't stay present you're even more likely to be late because you forgot something and had to go back and get it or you got the details mixed up. Plus when you're present it doesn't feel like the whole day ran away from you, it feels like you experienced every minute of it so you have more time.
It's a really neat test of discipline too to notice your breath because it only takes a few seconds to forget it's there, it's so quiet and undemanding.
Maybe just start with 5 minutes, if you're at your desk or watching TV just stop what you're doing and breathe. It's amazing all the things you miss when you are not here.
So next time you're stressing about what's coming your way or worried about some past mistakes ask yourself "Hey, where'd my breath go?!"