I will confess.
I am not at peace all of the time. Actually, most of the time, I'm not at peace. I live in a state that holds most of us captive, which is an uneasiness, whether we hold that in our shoulder muscles, our stomachs, our foreheads, our minds, or our hearts.
And this week was especially challenging for me mentally.
The week before a warm vacation, and a week in which I took on new responsibility in my career. I found myself caught in a cycle of adrenaline rushes, depression, restlessness, exhaustion, unceasing obsessiveness, pounding headaches.
But we don't need to talk about those stressors, or how I reacted. I'm sure you can fill in the blanks with a similar personal plot line.
Instead, I'm going to talk about how I dealt with it, or a little something called Mindfulness.
Mindfulness Meditation, or Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, which may sound familiar to you, is exactly what it sounds like - guiding your awareness to the present moment.
And yes, the effects are incredible.
I've been reading Eckhart Tolle over and over for about a half a year now, and I find one of his main philosophies - that we create our own suffering from living in the past or the future - to be entirely true.
Those places do not have to exist, and how you felt then does not have to exist.
Every moment that I began to feel an episode, or a worry screamed in my head, or I felt like crying, I brought myself back to my breath. The breath is the anchor that sustains you, the hand that will always - ALWAYS - be there to hold you as long as you are here. It will not once fail you in a challenging time, when there is suffering.
You are breathing, you are here, you are now.
Anything that will tell you otherwise is a lie.
If you can guide yourself back to your breath, and focus on it, your inhales and exhales will take you to the present.
Amazing things begin to happen: You stop judging yourself based on an outsider's perception; you see things clearly; your memory grows; your mind clears; and you begin to clear your mind of the cyclical thoughts and plunge yourself into where you are.
You have every right to put yourself in the driver's seat. Why shouldn't you put yourself there?
Sit up straight. Feel the weight of your body on your chair or your bed or the floor. Feel your skin against the fabric of your clothing.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
I am observing everything.
Begin to notice what's around you. What do you hear? What do you see? Is there movement?
I am aware of my breath.
Check in with yourself throughout the day. Maybe set an alarm that will remind yourself to scan your body. Practice mindfulness at any given moment that you remember to. It will help propel you out of these fearful thoughts, obsessive delusions, and into the now, the only moment that exists, or ever will exist.