The Wholehearted Life





My stress levels these past few months have been outrageous. As a result of this, and in my quest for finding the best way to do it all, I've been thinking a lot about intentional living, mediation, and showing up with all my heart ready to experience this thing called life.

I'm thrilled to be a part of this fabulous blog tour! I'm honored to be sharing an exclusive excerpt from Susyn Reeve’s The Wholehearted Life: Big Changes and Greater Happiness Week by Week!

Enjoy!

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WEEK 2

Breathe

The practice of mindful breathing may be very simple, but the effect can be great. Focusing on our in-breath, we release the past, we release the future, we release our projects. We ride on that breath with all our being. Our mind comes back to our body, and we are truly there, alive, in the present moment. We are home.
—Thich NhAT hANh

Breathe. Breath is life. Consciously focusing your attention on your breath is the most powerful and potent natural resource you have for being awake in the present moment.
Right now, stop for a moment and turn your attention to your in-breath and out-breath.
Do this five times. What do you notice? Are you more aware of your body? Are you feeling quieter? I notice that when I focus my attention on my breath—actually following the path of my breath as it enters my body through my nose, circulates throughout my body, and leaves my body through my mouth—I feel a deeper sense of relaxation and calm, and am more fully present in the moment. This is the power of focusing on your breath.
We are connected with all beings, all that is, through our breath. We are inhaling one another’s exhale all the time. Although it looks as if we are separated from others by the space between our bodies and the objects of our world, we are actually connected through our breath. As you exhale, your breath is charged with the emotional frequency of the thoughts you are thinking at that moment. Your emotional frequency, in each moment, contributes to the collective consciousness with each exhalation. Thoughts are real things, and what you think therefore makes a very big impact in the world— you pass your thoughts around through your breath! What do you contribute to the world through your exhalations—love, fear, happiness, anxiety, heaven, or hell?

How to Do It
Day 1: Become aware of your breath. Create a Breathe screen saver on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Put sticky notes around your house, workplace, and car as reminders to you to Breathe. When you see these reminders, stop and Breathe. Take full, deep breaths, using your diaphragm: when you inhale, your belly expands, and when you exhale, it contracts. Experiment with simply focusing on expanding and contracting your diaphragm, and notice how breath is automatically drawn into and expelled from your body; play with having your breath breathe you. Do a search on the web or in your local library or bookstore or ask a yoga teacher to give you suggestions to experiment with different breathing exercises.

Day 2: Meditate for at least ten minutes, focusing your attention on your breath. When your mind wanders, bring your attention back to your breath, your inhalation and exhalation.
Day 3: Meditate for at least ten minutes and focus on moving your breath through your entire body. Start at your feet: Inhale into your feet and feel your feet relax as you exhale. (To use your breath to enhance your body awareness even more, you can focus on one toe at a time; one finger at a time, etc... After each exhalation, focus your attention and breath on another body part: your knees, your ankles, your liver, your heart, your ears, your eyelids, your lips, etc.)

Day 4: Anytime your feel tension in your body, breathe into that part of your body, and as you exhale, allow the tension to leave your body and breathe it into the Earth. (The Earth has the powerful ability to take whatever is given to her and transform it into support and nourishment, as long as we also give her love and care.) You can also do this exercise when worrisome and fearful thoughts have captured your attention.

Day 5: Once an hour, for five consecutive breaths, imagine that God is gently blowing breath into your being and that each exhalation is your gift to the collective consciousness. One of the ways I play with this is on my morning beach walks: When the wind is blowing, I stand with my mouth open and allow the air to fill my body, and then, as I exhale, I give to the wind the air that is moving through my being.

Day 6: Meditate for twenty minutes, following the instructions of Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk, contemporary meditation teacher, and author: Breathing in I calm my mind and body. Breathing out I smile.
Breathing in I dwell in the moment. This is the only moment.

Day 7: Reflect and write your response to the following questions:
       What have you learned this week by focusing your attention on your breath?
       How did focusing your attention on your breath contribute to greater peace of mind?
       How can you use your breath on a daily basis to nourish wholehearted living?

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Next stop on the blog tour is http://jenniferwolfe.net for her post on March 18th. Definitely check that out!  

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