Updated: Oct 20
We are told to put on our own oxygen mask before helping others in case of an emergency. It is a logical step, but is hard to remember in the middle of a crisis.
We take breathing for granted because it is something that just happens. It is the most natural thing in the world. We don’t even realize we are doing it until we can’t.
Breathe in…breathe out...
If you can’t take a proper breath, it upsets the flow. It takes effort to relax back into a natural rhythm.
I was never more aware of breathing than when I was alone for long periods of time during the pandemic lock downs. My world became silent and still. At times I was strangely aware of every breath, and every heartbeat. There was too much solitude, but I was forced to connect with myself, and to others, in new ways.
I managed to find a lesson in it.
I developed mindfulness practices and mantras for personal reinforcement. I told myself that I could get through each day. All I had to do was breathe.
When I would become anxious, overwhelmed, or restless, I focused on my breathing. I attached each breath to a positive thought.
I would literally tell myself to fill my lungs with air, until my breathing became deep and consistent. Then, I told myself to fill my heart with love.
I started by filling my heart with love for myself. I did this over and over and over, until it felt full enough to overflow. Then I sent the extra love to others. Much like putting on my oxygen mask, it helped me to remember to love myself first. I don’t think I had ever consciously done that before.
My default setting was to give my love away to other people first. I realized I had to start with me. I am worthy of my own love, and there is still always enough to give away.
I continue this practice most days. Love and air, first for myself, then for others. Breathe in…breathe out…
Love in…love out... ❤️