Sometimes there are moments in our lives when everything is going well and without warning everything just seems to fall apart.
At these times it’s a great opportunity to dig a little deeper to find out what you are really made of. There will be things that come along that challenge who we are, challenge our integrity and will put in to question everything we stand for.
These moments feel like the end of the world. The truth is is that it’s the start of a new one. A chance to rise again with grace and dignity. Whether it’s a loss of love, or a job, or perhaps a health challenge, now is the time to rise like the Phoenix.
The Irish Goddess Oonagh reminds us to stay true to our path. She reminds us of our devotion to our journey into ourselves. Only through self love can one find their way out of the woods.
Our greatest struggle can reveal our greatest strength if we can only hold on and see it through with everything we hold dear inside of us. She reminds us to not give up even in the darkest of days. Hold onto your faith and your heart will lead the way to feeling the sun on your face again.
When a feeling of sadness, despair, or anger arises, we should stop what we are doing in order to go home to ourselves and take care. We can sit or lie down and begin to practice mindful breathing. The daily practice of breathing can be very helpful. A strong emotion is like a storm, and when a storm is about to arrive, we should prepare so we can cope with it. We should not dwell on the level of our head and our thinking but bring all our attention down to the level of our abdomen. We may practice mindful breathing and become aware of the rise and fall of our abdomen. Breathing in, rising; breathing out, falling. Rising, falling. We stop all the thinking because thinking can make the emotion stronger.
We should be aware that an emotion is only an emotion; it arrives, stays for some time, and then passes, just like a storm. We should not die just because of one emotion. We should remind young people about this. We are much more than our emotions, and we can take care of them whether we are feeling anger or despair. We don’t think anymore, we just focus 100 percent of our attention on the rise and fall of the abdomen and in that moment we are safe. Our emotion may last five or ten minutes but if we continue to breathe in and out, we will be safe, because mindfulness is protecting us. Mindfulness is the Buddha in us, helping us practice belly breathing…
We are like a tree during a storm. If you look at the top of a tree, you may have the impression that the tree can be blown away or that the branches can be broken anytime, but if you direct your attention to the trunk of the tree and become aware that the tree is deeply rooted in the soil, then you see the solidity of the tree. The mind is the top of the tree, so don’t dwell there; bring your mind down to the trunk. The abdomen is the trunk, so stick to it, practice mindful, deep breathing, and after that the emotion will pass. When you have survived one emotion, you know that next time a strong emotion arises, you will survive again. But don’t wait for the next strong emotion to practice. It is important that you practice deep, mindful breathing every day.
– Thich Nhat Hanh