Join me for a fun teleclass, “Creating Your Oasis 101” this Wednesday, September, 9, 2009 @ 1pm central/11am pacific time. This inspirational and motivational call will be a great introduction (or refresher course) in how to make the time and space in your life for creative fulfillment.
At 9,600 feet elevation, you have a new appreciation for oxygen and your lungs ability to pump it through your respiratory system. I’ve been thinking about this a lot as I take my morning run through the scenic mountain town of Breckenridge. During the first five minutes or so, my lungs experience a slight burning sensation and my brain sends little “are you kidding me – we’re really going to do this?” messages. But, soon, I find my rhythm and the clean mountain air feels great and my mind focuses on the tranquil beauty of the river, bright blues skies and surrounding mountains. (especially novel and amazing sights for a flatlander from Dallas, Texas) My body takes over and does what it’s designed to do without my giving it another thought.
It’s so easy to take something as omnipresent as oxygen for granted in our day-to-day lives. And yet, when we experience something as basic and ordinary as breathing in a new set of conditions (in a higher altitude, as we exercise, or a combination of both) its preciousness becomes more apparent. Even in my everyday life back in Dallas, I sometimes notice that I’m not taking full breaths. When I have this realization and remedy it by taking in a few deep, cleansing breathes, the relaxing and energizing effects are immediate and transformative – an instant oasis, if you will.
A wonderful doctor, Dr. Margaret Christensen, posts as signs all around her office that simply say “Breathe”. I’m always amazed how within the course of a visit with her, I’m reminded to breath a half-dozen times or more and how wonderful it feels. It’s unbelievable really, but most of us forget to really connect with our breath and breathe deeply the majority of the time. It’s as if we have this magical device at our disposal that we neglect to use. Feeling stressed, anxious or nervous? Take a nice deep breath and let it go. Dangerously close to losing your cool with your co-worker or kid? Breathe deeply and feel the calm flow throughout your body. Feeling particularly grateful for something, breathe in and let the positive energy expand within you.
My dear friend, Jane Baldwin, founder of Pranasalara, (which translates to “breathing through illusion to freedom”) leads amazing breathing circles. Using special breathing techniques, she guides you into a state that transcends the usual mind/body/spirit condition and allows you to experience a soul-cleansing release that is truly extraordinary.
So, the first lesson the mountains have shared with me this summer, and my gentle reminder to you is this – remember to breathe. You have the magical power to bring a calm, focused energy to yourself – anytime, anywhere – your breath. How great is that?
All the best from my oasis to yours,
Beach people are happy people, generally at least. During my sunrise runs, most people I pass on the beach are content, if not downright joyful. Fishing, walking their dogs, running barefoot along the shoreline (like me) or up on softer sand in running shoes with headphones. To me, an early morning walk or run on the beach is one of life’s greatest pleasures and a true “oasis moment”. (I believe this would be true even if I were lucky enough to live near a beach and have the opportunity to run there anytime I wanted and not just the one or two weeks out of a year that vacation currently allows. A theory I hope to test in the future!)
Recently, I realized during one of these morning constitutionals that I was so focused on the stretch of sand just ahead of me that I had to remind myself to stop and take a moment to turn to the sea, to breathe in the fresh morning air and drink in the splendor of the foamy white waves rolling onto the shoreline. As I took a moment to revel in the beauty and rhythm of the rolling waves, the sounds of the surf and feel of the salty breeze on my face and the soft sand beneath my feet, I realized that this was just like our day-to-day lives. Often, we set off running through our days – seeing only the few feet in front of us – attention focused on the immediate tasks at hand. It’s only when we remind ourselves to stop and really take in the wonder and beauty of life that we can revel in the present moment. It seems to me that one of the benefits of mid-life is this is a time we finally begin to appreciate how delightful, how important and how absolutely necessary it is to stop and smell the roses (or sea air, or first cup of coffee of the day). In our 20’s we’re usually moving fast and furiously (even if we don’t know what we’re moving towards). In our 30’s – we may have others’ needs to consider (a partner, a child, a boss…) and we tend to put our needs on the back burner. But as we approach our 40’s and beyond, it begins to dawn on us – “Hey – this is my life. No one else is going to live it or enjoy it for me. I better starting doing some things that I want to do for a change!” Mid-life oasis here I come! And, if by chance you haven’t had that though yet, let me by the first to share it with you – take some time today, (take some time every day), to treat yourself to an oasis moment. Turn towards the waves and the rising sun in your world and revel in it. Paint your toenails or a canvas or a t-shirt. Toast your girlfriends or some marshmallows around a campfire in your backyard. Take a walk – even if it’s just around the block and notice five things you’ve never seen before. Dedicate the experience to yourself. Be fully present in the moment and let it fill you with delight. Then watch how little bursts of joy seep into other aspects of your day. You may find yourself smiling for no particular reason other than it just feels better that way. Beach people are happy people…and my wish for you today is that you enjoy a little bit of beach people attitude wherever you may be.