I Am Always Breathing

I find myself in a place of contentment at the moment. I haven’t won the lottery or fallen in love, but my life seems to be manageable and complete. Work is clicking along. I’m volunteering for roles in some organizations of interest. My eating and exercise is on track, so my sleep is good. My meditation and yoga practices are centering me spiritually. I feel supported. And I know that this, too, shall pass.

I drew the otter card this morning. Otter is feminine energy. She encourages me to be playful and trusting knowing that the river of life is taking me where I need to go. Last night I found myself reflecting on how different I am feeling about my life than I did 5 years ago. I was anxious about finding a decent job with some job security, and all I did was worry about it. I find myself receptive today. Whatever happens, I’ll handle it.

I assume this contentment is the fruit of a regular meditation and yoga practice. I’m not always feeling this way, but when I’m more anxious I seem to be able to minimize my discomfort by paying attention to my breathing. In the present, I’m always okay. I’m always breathing. When I’m at the doctor, and they are doing something painful, I shift my attention to my breath. Even when my body is in pain, I am always okay. I’m always breathing.

Last night I dreamed that I was walking down a path. I spotted a tiger. Fear surged through my body. My breath quickened. Another tiger appeared to my left and still another to my right. They moved toward me as if in a predatory dance. My life passed before my eyes. I scurried across the road, and to my surprise the tigers turned around and walked away. Sometimes the path out of fear is shorter than we think.

This morning I did a sprint HIIT workout. I sprint as hard as I can for 30 seconds and then walk for 30 seconds. I do that 15 times. It’s a short workout but super intense. My heart races. My blood boils. Sweat pours down my face. The last few minutes I was hurting. I focused on my breathing. I quit watching the clock. My body calmed to a steady effort. I was always okay. No matter how hard I worked, I was always breathing.

Otter says “Swim along, darling. You are in the flow.”

In what circumstances, could you shift your attention to your breath instead of staying in fear or anxiety? Might the tigers in your life walk away if you just turned your attention to your breath?

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