If I could sit with every woman in Australia tonight I would tell them to breathe. In and out, slowly recalibrating the depth of responsibility that we all carry.
I have been on a journey lately of chasing slow. Unpacking, reframing and doing my very best to stop comparing myself to strangers on the internet. How about you? When was the last time you breathed deeply and brought perspective close by?
TEN WAYS TO FIND MORE SPACE TO BREATHE THIS YEAR
1) Stop Comparing-
There is a deep part of us that finds it impossible to slow because even when we tell people we’re not, we can’t help ourselves but live in a space of comparison. If breathing and space are your pursuits this year, then we need to stop comparing ourselves to strangers on the internet.
2) Seek perspective-
There is a phrase that has been rolling around conversations and my reading lately and it has been this “the seeking”. There is a part of seeking that is deeply purposed in finding our voice. Seeking perspective helps us find space. As we find new expressions of our today, we find space in the margins.
3) To embrace silence-
When we breathe deeply, it is nearly impossible to speak. When we breathe deeply after a period of exertion it is nearly impossible to listen. This is a pattern that helps us reframe what it means to sit comfortably in silence. How do you feel in the midst of the only noise being breathing? This helps us find the space required to embrace silence. Silence forces space. It is how we respond to this space whether it is negative or positive.
4) Book in time to process-
I struggle to breathe when my mind is full of tasks. I create space in my mind and heart, by slowly walking around my house and rearranging my space. I struggle to breathe deeply when my space is cluttered. As I process the space, as I sort, as I declutter and as I arrange it is like I book in time with myself to say goodbye to the pressure of the day. How do you best process? Take the time to process and let go of the day, reframing the spaces that you exist in and find the room in your heart and mind to breathe.
5) Allow yourself to be imperfect-
I naturally fit in the category of clumsy. I spill my coffee on notes, I trip over myself as I reach for the phone and I drop my belongings everywhere. When I breathe deeply and accept the imperfections in my day, it is like I allow the breath to cleanse myself from the anxiety that perfection promotes. When we say it is okay to our “not enoughness” we allow space inwardly to grow. We need to allow our imperfections to breathe.
6) Take your shoes off and walk on the grass-
There is something about wet grass in my toes and sand beneath my feet that provokes my breath to explore the depths of its beauty. Whenever I have been working and high heels have restricted my walk, when I kick them off and walk softly on this earth, my breath deepens and space becomes palpable. When was the last time you walked the beach barefoot or park? It could be your defining process.
7) Connect your pen to paper and disconnect your mind-
Julia Cameron is one of my favourite authors and she describes a process called morning pages. Before we have picked up our phones or talked to a human soul, take a piece of recycled paper. It is important that the paper is not important like a journal or notebook and just write. Empty our hearts and minds on a piece of paper. Breathe the words from our head to our heart.
8) Find your phrase for the year-
In the midst of last year, overwhelmed by the pain of seven surgeries and the incessantness of the situation someone commented on one of my blogs, breathe Amanda. Find a phrase that comforts you, slowly and productively repeat it. Find your phrase and meditate on it. For me, I love “Let the peace of God surpass understanding and guard my heart and mind” I say it over and over.
9) Laugh at a good film-
You cannot laugh without drawing the deepest of breaths. Every time I laugh so very deeply, it is like space fills my lungs. We all need a space that we can scream and laugh, release and renew and a brilliant film can do this. Not crazy humour that is disrespectful, but wry, releasing laughter that releases even the hardest of souls. Who is that person who makes you smile? Go and sit with them and deep breathe a little. The breath that comes from a very deep, mighty roar.
10) Listen to an audio track-
There are so many audio tracks that are designed to bring rhythm to our souls. Whether it be a meditative voice, that lulls us to breathe repetitively or a movie soundtrack that grabs our hearts and draws them deeper. In my car, at the moment I have a completely instrumental soundtrack from Hans Zimmerman and there is something about this CD when it rotates into our car system, that it creates a breath in my family life that cannot be understood. Breathe, listen and repeat.
We all need space, we cannot exist without deep breathing but I have realised sometimes I hold my shoulders so tight that we refuse to release.
These are some of my simple thoughts around breathing and creating room to recover.
What is your self-care space go tos?
I can’t wait to hear your strategies.
All my love