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Breathing Mindfully: My Onion of the Centering Skills

Chopping an onion

When I was a child, I LOVED vegetables more than any other kid that I knew. From kale to squash ā€“ I loved them all. But not onions. Now, at almost 40 years old, I have softened my opinion somewhat. I now admit that all the knowledgeable chefs/cooks that came before me are correct: onions enhance flavor. I sometimes even add onions to my soups and sauces. Yet, it still feels out of place to reach for them when I am cooking. 

Much like onions, I have a tricky relationship with Breathing Mindfully. I have experienced the benefit of using a breathing practice in my wellness routine. Iā€™ve read the science about how Breathing Mindfully impacts our nervous system. I even suggest pausing and Breathing Mindfully to my children when they are upset and need to calm down. Yet, it is the Centering Skill I have to work the hardest to remember in the moment. Perhaps it is not something I have practiced enough. 

Patterns can become so ingrained that, even when we know we should be doing something different, it can be hard to change or adjust. Entering into a new year, I am making a commitment to move beyond the Centering Skills that come easily to me and now focus on the one that is the hardest. For me and my hyperactive brain, that is Breathing Mindfully. I now begin the day with taking 5 slow, deep breaths. I place my right hand on my heart, my left hand on my belly, as I inhale through my nose I count slowly to 5, and as I exhale I count slowly to 7. It is a simple step that takes me a few minutes, and I am starting the day with a clearer mind. 

What are you going to work on this year?