The holidays can be demanding and stressful as well as a time for celebration, reflection, and gratitude. One thing I’ve been reflecting on this week is that we often take the gift of existence for granted. This gift, both ordinary and miraculous, is given freely to everyone who is alive.
Did you create yourself? Did you call yourself into being? None of us consciously did that. You are born a gift, your existence is given to you as a gift. This is the generosity of life creating life. I feel a deep and primal gratitude for this life, even with all the intensity of existing in this world.
Being aware of your breathing can bring you into this present moment of existence with a calmer mind. This is especially helpful during the holidays. You might be feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and too busy when what you really need is some rest. With the breath, it only takes a few minutes to step out of the hustle and bustle and be just where you are. With each in-breath you receive the gift of aliveness; each out-breath encourages your heart to relax and rest in the deep release of simply existing.
To practice mindfulness of breathing, find a comfortable seated position and lower your gaze so you’re not distracted. Bring your full attention to your breath as it moves in and out of your body. Notice the sensation of the breath as it moves through your nose, throat, chest, and belly. You can place one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly to help you focus on feeling the movement of your breath in your body as it ebbs and flows.
Mindfulness of breathing is a simple yet powerful way to remember the gift of existence and find some inner peace during the holiday swirl. Those few minutes of practice can help to bring you into the present moment – you can practice anywhere, anytime. Each mindful breath is an invitation to appreciate the love and generosity of existence itself. You may discover a new dimension of gratitude for your precious human birth.
All blessings for a loving, mindful, healthy and strong New Year,
Trudy Goodman is the Founding Teacher of InsightLA. Join her Sunday mornings for a warm community gathering at her special weekly practice group, Sunday Community Sit: A Practice Group with Trudy Goodman. (Upcoming class will be on Sunday, January 1st, from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM PT.)