Right now, at this place and time, viewing the world's challenges seems to be an impossible task. If I back up and let my gaze rest gently on the seemingly impossible problems, I feel like the breath is knocked right out of me. The temptation, then, is to rush past it. We will never be able to find creative solutions unless we can pause, breathe, and then move in. Pausing and viewing the lay of the land is necessary.
Breathing is also a known antidote to trauma. One of the trauma informed care books I read went into the science of breathing and it is something like this. When we exhale a longer breath than our inhale, it starts to calm the autonomic nervous system. So my practice for deep breathing is to simply count my breaths. Inhale-2, Exhale-2-3-4.
Other types of breathing exercises are (from University of Michigan health): 4-7-8 breathing, roll breathing, and morning breathing. There is also square breathing. There are as many ways to breathe as there are people! Ha!
I have included some quotes and a poem below that are about breath or breathing. Maybe they can help.
My prayer for you this day is that you can find your breath. That in your breath you can find creativity. That in your creativity you can find your response to the world.
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh, Stepping into Freedom: Rules of Monastic Practice for Novices
“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.”
― Amit Ray, Om Chanting and Meditation
“How to be a Poet (to remind myself) by Wendell Berry
Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensional life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.
Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.”
― Wendell Berry, Given