I was recently running with a friend and on that particular day I was finding it a little harder to breathe than usual. The temperature had dropped, I hadn’t been running as much as I usually do, and I’d also been feeling some stress that week. I have a tendency to carry my stress in my neck and shoulders and my breathing becomes more shallow. I explained, “It’s all good stress. It’s stuff I want to do and stuff I’m excited about and there is no rush. I just need to learn to relax while I’m doing it.” She said, “that’s kind of what I do when I run up a big hill.” She said if she puts her shoulders back and opens her chest and takes long deep breaths when she gets to the top she feels like she has had a break. Light bulb moment!
It had never occurred to me, but I thought this was great insight and I have begun experimenting when I run. I did notice that when I see a big hill I want to walk. Which is fine and I’m all about running slow and easy and letting my mind wander without push or pain. It’s a meditation practice for me. But I did begin to experiment with that steep hill I have to run up to get back to my house. I noticed that when I encounter it thoughts about being out of shape and weak pass through my mind. Sometimes “why aren’t I running more?” Or “why am I such a wimp?” I tense up and look at how long at is. I might perceive the muscle fatigue as bad or a sign of my weakness, rather than just allowing it to be a part of my experience. My thoughts impact me and make the climb feel like it’s hard and annoying. However, when relax and breath deep, just feel my body in that present moment, and release my thoughts it really is not painful at all. And I am 100% capable of running up that hill. I haven’t quite gotten to the point where I feel like I’ve taken a break, but I am going to keep practicing.
This can apply to so many things, like feeling joy when we are in pain. Feeling hope, when we feel powerless. And feeling love amid anger. When we slow down, listen, and breath the mixture of emotions comes into our awareness. When we just allow the mixture of emotions to flow through us they become a part of our experience, rather than the source of our suffering.
As we approach the holidays we are likely to encounter stress of many things to do, expectations of others and ourselves, demands on our time, and of course, stress in relationships. I invite you to allow all that is to flow through you. Give yourself a chance to breath deeply. Release the thoughts and stories about yourself and others, and simply allow the movement. Allow gratitude, peace and joy to surface amidst the stress.
We offer a variety of ways to support you in easing the manner in which you live your life. Learn about our therapy services as well as our Restore & Explore classes and retreats. If you do this work, you will find more joy. Make the choice now to invite growth and healing into your 2020. We’re here to help. You can reach us here.