The election is over. Mostly. We know there will be aftershocks, but we’re not sure what they will look like and feel like. It’s doubtful they will change the outcome, and certainly not what many experienced on November 7. There was an audible and collective exhale felt around the world.
I heard so many people say, “Now, I can breathe.” The magnitude of the collective breath we were holding was palpable. The tensions of COVID-19. The tensions of Black Lives Matter. The tensions of our children not in school. The tensions of working from home, or worse, not having a job. The tensions of the election and its impact on our lives and the future of our children’s lives. These tensions were compounding – far beyond the interest in our bank accounts!
I’m an advocate for breathing. I practice breath-work and I teach it everyday to every age. I thought I was breathing. I had no idea I was holding my breath too. Until, I let it go. I felt it flow. It made me realize, we often have no idea that we’re holding our breath. This is especially true for mothers.
Our babies cry and it sends a lightening bolt through our bodies. (BTW, this never changes. I have two teenagers and I still feel that bolt when they are in distress.) That moment usually includes an inhale, but not necessary an exhale. Those moments add up in typical daily life – and are exacerbated in the out of ordinary life we are living nearly everyday of 2020.
Our bodies seek rhythm. Breath has rhythm. We are often unaware of our breath. It is the practice of becoming aware of our breath that can help us establish a rhythm to manage various and constant states of stress that assault our nervous systems.
Breathing is the one conscious action we can take to help slow down your automatic response system and diminish the affects of fight, flight, freeze or faint! You may already know this! What I discovered, is Knowing is not Doing. We must do it!
Here’s the practice part. Everyday. Every moment you feel tension. Try this:
- Sip in a breath like your are sipping through a straw. It will feel cool in your mouth. Inhale all the way to the top – no more air can come in.
- Pause at the top for a moment.
- Then release it slowly like you’re blowing out a candle – lots of candles! Exhale all the way out to the bottom – until there is no more air.
- Pause at the bottom for a moment.
- Repeat this 2 to 5 times depending on the situation.
With consistency, this practice becomes a new norm when the lightening bolts strike. My kids know when I am breathing, I’m processing and preparing my response. They have learned to wait for it. Ninety-nine percent of the time their need is not an emergency, it just feels like it! This helps us all regulate and solve problems calmly.
Regardless of your preference for President. Now, we can breathe. Now, we can solve problems. There is much healing required in our nation. To be the United States, we must unite within ourselves – body, mind and heart – and reflect that unity outward in everything we do. Here we go!