Tuesday, October 6, 2009

moment of mindfulness...remembering to breathe

Breathing seems automatic enough, but breathing deeply, fully filling the abdomen and chest, on a regular basis is not automatic for me. I have used breathing practices in the past mainly to shift my focus from pain. When I was a competitive cyclist, I would focus on my breath whenever climbing up mountains or any time things were intense. When I gave birth to my sons, breathing deeply during my contractions shifted my focus just enough to make the difficult ones bearable, helped me relax and empowered me all at the same time. And I’ve taught Jude to use breaths to ease frustration, pain, and anger.

For me breathing deeply helps me stay grounded. Instead of allowing the rush of the world to take my breath away, breathing deeply helps me remember to pause long enough to recognize and appreciate my connection to God and others and helps me expel anxious energies that serve no one.

In Roger Jahnke’s book, the Healer Within, he gives the example of a man who had 107 activities in his daily life that reminded him to breath deeply. So I’ve been trying to develop my own list. Here is my short list of a dozen …

When I open my eyes in the morning…I remember to breathe deeply.
When I see my son or husband (or anyone) for the first time in a day…I remember to breathe deeply.
When I notice the sun’s light as it first trickles through the trees…I remember to breathe deeply.
When hear the geese honk, the osprey cry, or the kingfisher’s rattle….I remember to breathe deeply.
When I hear the tea kettle whistle…I remember to breathe deeply.
When I sit down to eat…I remember to breathe deeply.
When I open my door…I remember to breathe deeply.
When I feel the wind…I remember to breathe deeply.
When I feel frustrated or nervous…I remember to breathe deeply.
When I feel grateful…I remember to breathe deeply.
When I kiss my son or husband goodnight…I remember to breathe deeply.
When I close my eyes at night…I remember to breathe deeply

“The word inspiration, which means literally ‘to breathe in,’ also refers to the rush that we feel when overtaken by spiritual energy. Inspiration is what we call the force that impels us forward into life with enthusiasm; it is the divine influence that brings forth creativity and vitality. The breath is a powerful link to the most profound medicine that we produce within us physically, mentally, and even spiritually.” ~ Roger Jahnke, The Healer Within

Inspired blessings~


  1. I love this post! A list of reminders to take a deep breath. I remember that Thich Naht Hahn said that he always took three deep breaths when the phone rang, or when he was at a stop light.

    Thanks for the reminder to breath my dear, it is much appreciated.

  2. Wonderful post! I tend to only breathe deeply when very content or very stressed and I'm trying to calm myself. And it works wonders... these are great reminders to do it more often. Thanks!


  3. Deep breaths are something I teach my patients to do every day as a nurse.

    Thank you for this. I needed a reminder to do so for myself, so really, honestly, thanks.

  4. Beautiful sentiments Elizabeth, this too is something I am mindful of. I appreciate that you shared your list, certainly a good practice to add into my day.

  5. Yes, thank you for that - I'll try to remember to breathe more deeply tomorrow!

  6. I do yoga and it's amazing how shallow I'm breathing before and how deeply I'm breathing afterwards. Great post. I needed to breathe.

  7. I am breathing deeply (and sitting straighter) as I read and write now thanks to you! I have been having so many "light bulb moments" lately about seemingly simple things that I don't usually pay much attention too, but that make all the difference in the world. Breathing, certainly fits on this list...thank you for the reminder!

  8. This is BEAUTIFUL!

    I read somewhere that 80% of our nutrients comes from the air we breath...in an age where the health and diet industry is multi-billion dollar industry...one wonders why there is not more info, advice etc. on brething...oops, i guess air is free.


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