Breathe In. Breathe Out. Repeat.

I know people who worry and dread over so much so often that they seldom, if ever, are just “here and now,” and with every breath they are thinking about some other time, some other event, some other issue, some other possibility, but not THIS time.  I’ve read a lot of books about this and it seems to be an epidemic.   I also know people, although the number is significantly fewer, who never consider fretting over tomorrow because *it’s in the future* and the future is unknown, and therefore pretty much meaningless, because all that matters is now.   *Is-ness.*

…so I woke up this morning to the gentle sound of my Woodstock Percussion chimes and my Soleri Bells, which was lovely after last night’s roaring pounding winds which made me wonder if my roof might blow off, or that I might find my 300 pound cement Buddha sculpture off its 100 pound concrete base by morning…neither of which happened, thankfully.  I got out of bed and my back did not hurt too much, for the first time since Sunday, when I twisted it, moving a bench of all things, AND not even a heavy bench!   I am looking at my new 23 inch computer monitor which makes my poor eyesight seem far more tolerable than it is,  and typing with my ten fingers, one of which is becoming totally bent and sore at the tip, and I am sure I’m  ‘catching’ my mother’s arthritis, and I choose not to think at all about what my fingers might look like in ten or twenty years, since the only image that comes to mind is gnarly tree roots.  To my left is a very hot and very big mug, filled with the dark soothing comfort of strong coffee which I sip and savor throughout the morning before I head off to work.  Both of my feet are cozy in my Ugg flip-flops which are so fuzzy, like slippers, but fabulous because they are in fact flip-flops and make me feel happy and reminded that it won’t be winter forever…Now, this ridiculously run on sentence filled paragraph might seem pointless, but what I am pointing out is STEP 11, and why it matters to give it a go if you are in need of finding some way to ground yourself from the dwelling, or the nerves, or the anxiety that often plagues you…

step11You see, many of us, myself included, have a lot on our minds about a lot of things…there are worries about health, money, relationships, job stability, weight, friendships, family…pick one, any one…I suspect that most people have at some time or another had worries about any number of things, and sadly for some, all at once, and STEP 11 sort of asks the question, Why?  Be glad for the fact that you have the strength to get out of bed, that you have feet and legs and arms and fingers, and that you are alive, and have a roof over your head, there is food in your house to eat, that there are people who would miss you if you were gone…things that you and I likely take for granted.

What good does it do to think about whether March’s mortgage payment is going to be late, or if on April 15th you’ll have enough money to pay your quarterly income tax estimate as well as what you owe from 2014, or if you will hit your goal weight by Memorial Day, or if you will finally get a romantic weekend away with your husband before school is out in June and you have to worry about childcare, or if your position in your company will still be there in July and will your wife be able to pick up more hours at her job if it isn’t, or if your grandmother’s lease that ends in August will be renewed at the same rate, or if you must have a family meeting about this with your brother and mother again come September you feel already like your head is going to explode…WHAT good does ANY of this do you, right now?  This minute.  ZERO, Nada, zilch, nil, ZIP.

STEP 11 implies that you should just breathe in and just breathe out and then do it again.  You will get where you want to be if you take one step at a time.  Just be here, now, and in an hour you can be there now, and at bedtime you’ll be…well, you get it.  If this seems difficult, then an exercise that I have found works wonders for me is that when I find myself starting to think too far ahead, and I feel my heart rate rise, and I sense that the worrisome thoughts are going to start rushing like a dam that has broken, I literally take the biggest breath I can, and fill my belly and my lungs to capacity and then blow it out hard through my mouth and stop all thoughts except on this one breath, then the next…After a few of these deep meditative calming breaths, I open my eyes and really look, and find something positive to think about what I am seeing.  This might seem silly to some of you but it is an exercise that has worked wonders for me during this experience with the 21 STEPS.   We all want to get where we want to be in whatever way we can, but we also all have to be here, now, this second.  Inhale and exhale, repeat.  That’s it.   If you have a goal or a dream or a plan, terrific.  Enjoy those thoughts…but nothing that is in the future is really anything to worry about, today is today and tomorrow is tomorrow, and whatever is going to happen is pretty much going to happen whether you think about it or fret over it, or get an upset stomach with worry contemplating all the possibilities about it, whatever IT is.

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