How Do We Do This?
A running theme for my columns this year is “how do we do this”? And by “this” I mean, how do we get through these difficult times that we have been facing – COVID, the effects that climate change is having in our lives, the anxiety we all feel over the upcoming US election, and the rise of hatred. These are difficult times to say the least. For many of us in North America, this is the first time in generations that we are facing such uncertain times. Last month I talked about how we can find belonging in such times. This month, I turn my attention to why it’s important to stay grounded during such times, and how we can do that as a community.
I admit to having days where my emotions can run high – days where I feel anxious, helpless, afraid … and incredibly alone. I run my errands and go for my walks wondering how we are going to get through this, and I worry about the fate of humankind and the world. Those are the days when the light at the end of the tunnel seems very dim – if I’m able to see it at all.
It’s in those moments that I notice that my mind races from one thing to the next with little to no coherent thought. And if I’m honest with myself, my body tenses – I feel it most especially in my shoulders and jaws. These are the days when my spirit feels weak, and sometimes I’m even aware that my breathing is shallow and tight. That is if I have the presence of mind to even pay attention to what is happening in my body.
Over the years, I have learned that going out for my daily walks helps me tune into what is happening in my body at such times. I have found that my daily walks help to keep me grounded. There is something soothing about breathing in the sweet breath that is around us – except on those days when the smoke covers our skies – and paying attention to my body as I take my walk. When I take time to bring my awareness to the support of the ground beneath me helps me to find strength in my own being, grounding my mind and body from within. In the midst of uncertainty, it reminds me to look for the constants – the green grass, blue skies, fresh air.
I’ve also noticed that when I’m on the treadmill on the morning, I can lower my blood pressure just by paying attention to my breath as my belly rises and falls with each breath. It sounds strange, and yet it works! I can often get it to drop close to five or six points each time I bring my awareness back to my breath in my body.
So, one of the ways we are going to get through this is by breathing together and paying attention to our bodies. That is why in our services I focus on our breath, I encourage us to breathe together, for when we do, we do become one calm body, one energetic force that expands beyond us into our daily lives.
So, I invite you dear ones, to breathe with me. Feeling the breath filling the very depths of our being calming our fears, quenching our tears, allowing us to access that still, small voice that resides within each one of us.