rainbowsLet’s face it. We all have bad days. Most anyone who says they don’t have bad days – or at least bad moments – is either not aware or deluding themselves. Although the storms do lessen over time when we find the remedies that work for us and help us to grow from the turmoil.

Personally, I prefer to not talk about the bad times, mainly because there’s enough negativity floating around out there already. I agree with Sai Baba who says, “Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it kind, is it true, is it necessary, does it improve upon the silence?”

That last one is particularly important to me, and in a world full of distractions and absent minds it’s a particularly hard one to master.

Sharing such unpleasant things can improve upon the silence when we use the dirt we’re dishing to step up out of the sinkholes of despair rather than to drown in our own misery.

‘Bad days’ are the necessary storms that cleanse the crappy thoughts looping through our minds daily. It’s in those darkest nights of the soul where our true Self is hiding, in the murkiness of false beliefs & ill-conceived notions, crying to be heard. In storms, stuff gets stirred up and our emotions form the oceans from which we receive our greatest insights. That is, if we can ride out the currents that sometimes turn into tsunamis.

A simple thought underlies these tumultuous episodes in our lives. A belief in the moment that we are separated from God. I use the term ‘God’ for semantic’s sakes since, in my view, there is no label that could contain the Infinity of existence – the Is-ness of all things – so whatever label works for you, substitute it here. But, it is this single thought that throws us down the rabbit hole, feeling at the mercy of some cosmic trick, unable to see the light.

Our connection to God Is. Period. It can’t not BE. It is the animating force that runs everything. The illusion of limitations makes us forget this. We get attached to how things are ‘supposed’ to be and miss all kinds of opportunities that show up in unfamiliar packages. Like the misguided fisherman drowning at sea, denying all help that came his way waiting for ‘God’ to show up, we get caught up in torrents of emotions that sweep us away.

Buddhist teachings call the present moment, “The Golden Gate” because it is only NOW that we have the most potent power. Attachment to past events & future outcomes causes suffering.

I’ve had some real doozie dark nights that have taken me to hell and back, at times threatening to leave me there. The one thing that always gets me back on track and into the present moment is to stop and take a deep breath. Or ten.

I realize that when the car payment is due and the money is short, when you dread going to work day after day – when life’s pressures are upon you, taking a breath is much easier said than done. But when we learn to breathe, deeply into our abdomens – a raft will appear in the sea of our discontent to lift us up.

Yes, thoughts will still swirl about, whispering all kinds of crazy nonsense. but the breath is the eye of the storm. The more we exercise this muscle, the easier it will be to stay there and find the clarity we need to be able to respond to any situation in a balanced way.

Breathing stills the mind and allows us to see through the clouds that block the light which is always there.

Regular meditation is a great way to build your diaphragmatic (breathing) muscles. Don’t wait to start building your weapons on the battlefield. We have to hone our tools (breathing/meditation) before the battles of life occur. Waiting until some kind of drama is upon us before we start breathing is setting ourselves up for failure.

Meditating daily, breathing deeply for at least 20 minutes will strengthen your core, so that when you’re faced with difficulties you’ll be ready. Rather than habitual hair-trigger responses to certain events, you’ll be prepared to look at it from the perspective of your true god-Self.

This takes practice, of course. A lifetime of practice, for sure, but what else are we going to do with our precious time on earth?

Shop?

We’re fortunate that we can do both and more when we take time daily to feed our souls. With nourishing breath and good thoughts, we can become more than we ever thought we could be.

Then, one day you look up and realize that you came through the roughest of storms and have emerged, cleared of negative debris, ready to step into the rainbows of your best & brightest days.

In the simple things we find our greatest treasures. Contained in each moment is the Golden Gate; the eye of all life’s storms.

Just … breathe …

Written for Gaia Scenics’ View

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