Let's Just Take A Breath...

Wow! January is almost over already! It seems like it was yesterday that I was back in Belgium to spend the holidays with my family, and now here I am, planning for summer!

When I realize how fast time goes, I always remind myself to just chill out, take a couple deep breaths, and slow down. It's incredible how easy it is for me to start doing 5 things at once, soon forgetting what 2 of them were... then I realize I was so absorbed in doing a thousand close-to-useless busy things that I even forgot to breathe. 

Having done AT LEAST 20,000 classes and workshops on meditation and self-development, I heard countless times how important it was to stop and take deep breaths...honestly I always thought it was stupid. Breathing? Really? I'm on the verge of panic attack/burnout/something-really-bad and all you can tell me is to BREATHE?? 

I was too much of a smarty pants back then to realize that the simplest things are often the most powerful. So as years passed and I traded some of my smartness against a bit of wisdom, I realized that simply breathing through an experience can save my bacon.

Whenever I feel like life is speeding up and I won't get through half of my to-do list that day (which certainly means the world will collapse), I stop and breathe. 

Whenever pain shows up, turning my stomach into a knot and sending needles of fear through my veins, I stop and breathe where it hurts. 

And when I feel particularly brave (or desperate), I use the tonglen practice: breathe in the pain, breathe out compassion.

(Here is a short instruction sheet from Pema Chodron about tonglen)

Take a deep breath and a moment to enjoy the pics below, which I'm delighted to share with you. And if you live in the Bay Area, consider stopping by on February 4th for an Intuitive Painting Session (including breathing exercices of course!).