Friday, May 31, 2013

Holding Our Breath

We have arrived at that time in the gardening cycle when the soil has been turned and amended, the seeds have been planted, the mulch has been carefully laid down and the garden gnome has been restored to his rightful place as guardian of the back yard. Now ... we wait. We hold our breath and wait, all the time listening to that dialogue running in our heads in a continuous loop: "Did I plant too early/too late? Will we get hit with another of those ridiculous late spring frosts? Will the animals dig up the seeds? Should I have given the squash and cucumbers more room?" On, and on.  Not until the first shoots are poking their heads through the soil do we breathe deeply and freely as if we we deep sea divers who had just broken the surface and come up for air.

How many times in our day to day lives do we do the very same thing when faced with stress or indecision? We forget to breathe. Will I get that job? Will he like me? Did I do the right thing? Am I too old to try something new? Do I have enough courage to take the next step? Our breathing is short, shallow and held so tightly that it  has a negative effect on our brain as well as our body. How can anyone handle a situation or make a rational decision under those circumstances?

When I first heard Deepak Chopra in an interview say that people in the west had forgotten how to breathe, I thought I had heard wrong? How can you forget how to breathe? It just happens - air in, air out - no thought required. It wasn't until I started to meditate that I realized breathing is an art, a science, and a path to better physical and spiritual health. Just like learning how and when to plant our seeds, breathing can also be studied and applied to grow a life that is not just healthier and happier, but gives us that extra boost we need to take the first step in the direction of our dreams.

The next time you contemplate stepping outside your comfort zone to plant your intentions and dreams for the next chapter in your life, take a moment, stop, take 3 or 4 slow, deep breaths, and look at the idea again. See if things don't look a bit clearer and more do-able. I bet you'll find that you planted those seeds exactly where they were meant to be. Before you know it, those dreams will come poking their little heads up through the soil of your heart and burst into bloom.

And so it is.