#310 A Joyful, Fulfilled Life

People have asked, so I’ve thought about it. Here is my prescription for a joyful, fulfilled life.

1. Practice Conscious Breathing for 15 minutes twice a day (have a meditation practice).
2. Stay hydrated (drink plenty of water).
3. Be grateful, every day.
4. Be generous, in every way.
5. Be kind to all sentient beings (be of service).

That’s the foundational list, the absolute musts.

Here are some others:
* move your body (stretch, dance, yoga, walk in the park)
* hug trees and people
* sing in community
* create (sew, cook, sculpt, write, plant a garden).

What would you add?

#309 Judging

I swear to you, everything I have ever judged another person for, I have ended up doing or becoming.And that’s a lot of things! Oh dear.

So now, every urge to judge (and believe me, those urges still arise) is tempered by the knowledge that, “That which I judge, I become.”

#308 Breath and Water

Why do we practice Breath and Water?

When I started the Breath and Water Club in 2004, I promised that if you practiced Conscious Breathing for 15 minutes twice a day, and drank 8 glasses of water a day, and did both daily for 6 months, your life would change in wonderful ways that you couldn’t even imagine.

And people’s lives have changed in amazing ways.

But beyond creating amazing changes, the practice of Breath and Water adds a sweet, grounded, and inspiring richness to every day life.

If you’ve strayed from your Breath and Water practice, I encourage you to return.

If you have continued your practice, please let me know what it has meant to you.

What is the Breath and Water Club? Here: Breath and Water Club

#307 My Meditation

As we approach the winter solstice and the gradual return of the sun, it’s a good time to focus on what we would like to let go of, and what we would like to create. So I’ve been doing this meditation every morning. Maybe you’ll find it interesting.

I start with breathing. Specifically, I practice my Hug Your Heart breath on every inhale, and on the exhale I say (joyfully proclaim, announce to all creation, exclaim — silently of course) “I release all limiting beliefs, behaviors, and patterns of thoughts.” I do that for about 15 minutes.

Then I listen to a guided relaxation that goes through the entire body, one body part at a time. I continue with my Hug Your Heart breath, but now on the exhale, I say (proclaim, rejoice in, experience) “I release the effects of all limiting beliefs, desires, and intentions,” as I focus on the body part that the meditation is guiding me to. I say it that way because I remembered that, as a girl, I thought it would be really cool if I could wear glasses. Which I now do, of course. I’m sure I’ve had other limiting desires and intentions, and certainly beliefs, throughout my life. And I’m equally sure that they caused various effects, which I would now like to release.

Then I spend some time, several minutes, in the energy of formlessness — the dark, fecund, primordial energy of pure potential. I continue breathing with Hug Your Heart, and on the exhale I reverently state, “I release all limitations, and I am open to all possibilities.”

Then I focus on releasing one particular belief, followed by focusing on whatever I want to replace it with. For example, I may wish to release the belief that infirmity comes with old age, and replace it with a belief in aging with vitality and a passion for living. Believe me, there’s no dearth of beliefs for me to choose from!

Finally, I delight for a while in gratitude.

That’s it. It takes me about 45 minutes, more or less. Some days I have to get up quite early to fit my meditation into my morning, but I’ll tell you what — this meditation creates a kind of bliss, so if I need to get up before 5am, I happily do so.

Happy Solstice! Happy holidays! The year is turning! Light is on the way! Yee haw!

#306 Hug Your Heart (again)

Do you remember the Hug Your Heart breath? You can find it in Tenacity Notes #168.

I am frequently freaked out about the Republicans. Wise counsel says when that happens, just love them. But I have found myself to be unequal to that task. What to do?

Then I remembered my Hug Your Heart breath. Hugging my heart allows me to take a step back from the fear and frustration. Hugging my heart, I can feel love for all people, and indirectly, as it were, for the Republicans.

Even if there were no white supremacists, no misogynists, no child molesters, this would be a good time to practice the Hug Your Heart breath. Because for many people, the holidays cause their own kinds of frustration and anxiety.

Happy Holidays! Hug Your Heart!

#304 GREED

GREED. Think of it as a virus. A virulent, insidious virus. A pandemic from which the world has been suffering for a very long time. But perhaps we can help this virus to decline. Perhaps the more people who heal themselves of the virus, the less likely it is to spread.

There are many symptoms of this virus, and you might want to check yourself for them. Stinginess, of course, is one of the first symptoms that comes to mind. Ask yourself if there is any way you’re stingy. With your money, sure, but not just your money. With your time, with your openness, with your compassion, with your energy on any and every level.

Fear is another symptom. The urge to acquire stuff, another. Judging others as “less than” is yet another symptom of greed. Racism, created as a justification for slavery and oppression, is a particularly ugly symptom of greed. Can you suggest more?

You want to know if you’ve contracted this virus! Pay attention to your thoughts, your actions, your beliefs. Make a list of your symptoms.

Because there is an antidote — generosity. (Lack of generosity is certainly a symptom.)

Practice generosity in ALL ITS FORMS, and you just may save yourself (and help to save others) from the scourge of our time, greed.

#303 Imagine this:

Imagine this: Your body is the merest shimmer of energy, barely discernible, in the field of pure potential. In that shimmer is the essence of you, the you that is more than just the physical you.

Consider this: Your beliefs and your thoughts, especially your repetitive thoughts, fill in that shimmering outline of your body. Your beliefs and your thoughts created and continue to create the body you have.

Wonder this: What are your beliefs and thoughts that create the physical you? The thoughts come first, the physical manifestation follows — isn’t that what the Masters teach? Here’s an example — I have some arthritis, which seems to me to be the result of certain patterns of thought. I think of it as the calcification of a pattern of thought. What are those thoughts? What beliefs helped in the creation of that arthritis?

Know this: You can return to when your body was just a shimmer of energy in the field of formlessness, the field of pure potential. Use your intention and your imagination. Close your eyes, become a shimmer of possibility, releasing unhelpful thoughts and beliefs. In the field of formlessness, what beliefs, what thoughts, will you use to create your physical self? Choose!

Now, it is entirely possible that some beliefs came very early, riding on sperm and egg, passed down through generations. Only return to the shimmer of pure potential, and you can release that inheritance. Choose!

#302 Deep Gratitude

Try this:
Close your eyes. Take your attention deep into your body. Get a sense of your blood. Get a sense of various organs, various cells, various molecules. Name what it all feels like.

Be grateful. Be heart-swelling grateful. Be joyfully grateful. For something, for anything. Feel it.

Return your attention to your deep body. Is there a difference?

Let me know.

#301 Breath and Water

A reader writes:

“Thank you for starting up Breath and Water again. It is so exactly what I needed (you have a way of doing that). I felt better physically and emotionally within 2 weeks. Still, it took an effort to stay regular with the practice. Then my daughter told me to do this: drink 4 cups of water immediately when I get up in the morning, then wait 45 minutes before I eat or drink anything else. I was skeptical, but I started it.

Here’s my new morning routine: I drink 4 cups of water right away when I get up, then I set my coffee maker to start in 30 minutes. In the meantime, I have time for my 15 minutes of Conscious Breathing and a few Sun Salutations (I do them from a chair now).

Somehow, adding the extras has made the practice easier for me. Go figure.

I used to get up at 7:00am, just in time to dress and fly out the door for the 7:30 bus. I was always frazzled in the morning. When I returned to Breath and Water, after your last newsletter, mornings became less fraught. Now that I’ve added the 4 cups of water and the 45 minute wait, I get up at 5:30! And amazingly, getting up earlier is better! I have plenty of time for water and Conscious Breathing and a little yoga. By the time I leave for work, I feel rested and grounded and pretty darned pleased with myself.

Thank you, Jett. I know I don’t often reply to your Tenacity Notes, but please know that I relish every one. Your wisdom has guided me for a very long time. Thank you for making my life so rich!”

#300 Breath and Water

Do you remember The Breath and Water Club?

I’ve returned to my Breath and Water practice. My life is in some kind of major transition, so I figured there couldn’t be a better time to begin Breath and Water again. I invite you to join me! That’s how the club began, back in 2004, as an attempt by me to gather the support of a group to practice Breath and Water together.

I’m on day three, and I’ve already forgotten my evening breathing once. I was going to get the string out to tie around my finger, but we just moved, and I can’t find it. But I can find you.

Maybe you don’t remember the Breath and Water Club. Here’s what it’s all about: Drink 8 glasses of water a day, and do conscious breathing for 15 minutes twice a day. Do that for 6 months and your life will change in ways you never dreamed of. It’s as simple as that.

The Breath and Water Club newsletter — 70 issues over 6 years — is full of suggestions and reports of results from me and many other club members. Check it out and join the Breath and Water Club.