Here you will find many great ideas and tools for building peace and as a result happiness in your life.  As you face life's inevitable challenges you can look here for small things that will make a big difference. 

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Thursday
Mar152012

Breathing...A Peaceful Rant?

 

 

I have been wondering...what do people think about a person who dedicates time and effort into a website titled Pursuing Peace?  Do they think "She must exude Peace on a daily basis"... "She must have the perfect peace full life" ... "Peace...what?...I must have clicked on the wrong link..."  or maybe they know me and they're thinking something more like this "Who does she think she kidding?"..."Really?"..."Isn't she the one with six kids?"  Well, someone who does know me asked the other day "Where's the rant?" I laughed and responded "Yeah right. A Peaceful Rant." 

Hmmm...why not?

It is true that I do love a good rant.  Generally about something that I seem to see so clearly that obviously everyone else is missing.  Like, for instance, the fact that life is NOT easy.  Or, that challenges DO make us stronger and refine our lives if we allow the process.  Or, that miserable people - though they deny this fact - are often most comfortable MISERABLE.  And it is also true- as every good ranter can affirm - I feel better after I have vented my frustrations with the world.

But not for long.

The process of venting - catharsis - does make you feel great, but it accomplishes little else.  In fact it can actually reenforce your desire to feel good through venting never addressing the issue causing your frustration in the first place which would negate the need to vent all together.

So what is a "Peaceful" blogger to do? Let's consider another meaning of the word Vent.  "To rise to the surface of the water to breathe" 

Breathe. 

I have to admit as a massage therapist no one knows any better than I do the therapeutic benefits that come with a deep breath.  I have felt unyielding muscles "let go" through conscious, deep breathing. So many people hold their breath, without realizing it, throughout the day.  Are you one of them?  Think about it...it may surprise you. I have literally had to teach people how to breathe again.  When instructed to take a deep breath many simply fill their lungs, lifting their chest and shoulders in a brief inhale and exhale motion. Now, while this type of breathing may sustain life, it's not the type of breathing that lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, strengthens the immune system, and simply put - makes you feel better.

I also know from personal experience that a well place sigh - deeply felt - does carry with it a glimpse of the peace that at the moment may be evading me.  Quite honestly, even the thought of Whales venting brings with it a sense of peace for me.  I am from the Pacific Northwest and as such have seen that quiet, peaceful, beauty first hand.  Off the shores of Kauai a few years ago my family was awe struck at the majesty of a pod of whales venting so near us we could almost touch them from the Zodiak we were in.  Imagine that whales deep breath...taking in enough air to fill his lungs to capacity - holding it with ease while he travels - and then that exhale...definately one with some umph behind it.

That's the kind of breathing I'm talking about here.  Deep...slow... and with intent.

Just like the whale, a breath that's going to sustain through the deep waters of the day and get you where you need to go. 

Here is a simple breathing exercise to get you started:

  • Breathe in slowly, counting to eight (maybe you only make it to five or six in the beginning).
  • Hold on to the brief pause before the exhale for just a moment longer than usual.
  • Exhale slowly, consciously letting go of whatever frustration your holding on to.
  • Pause again, for just a moment, before you continue with the task at hand.

Variations in this can and should include closing your eyes if possible.  A good stretch.  A "walk about" outdoors if you can, but hey - even around the office can do wonders.  If your sitting in your car try cracking the window just a bit to get some fresh air...even if a raindrop or two sneaks in.  At night before you sleep  do this breathing several times while lying on your back and slowly pumping your feet... toes towards the ceiling then forward towards the distant wall.  With each breath let go of the day and settle into a good nights sleep.

Finding peace can be difficult if your not getting enough air.  So often we stay underwater, feeling overwhelmed by the currents pull.  All we really need is a good vent...rising to the surface of the water to breathe.

 

 

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