Breathe in the present moment. Breathe out the past. Breathe in the present moment. Breathe out the past.
If you've ever taken a yoga class or participated in any guided meditation, you have probably tried this exercise. You sit or lie down on your yoga mat, ground yourself firmly to the earth below you, relax your muscles, and settle into the rhythm of your own breath. With each inhalation you take in the present, the now, the new, the here-ness of it all. With each exhalation, you let go of the past, the accumulated stresses, the repeated thoughts, the jumpy, habitual ego-mind, the then.
I'm all for living in the moment. I truly believe that it is only in the present moment that we are able to change and grow and continually create our life. But what happens when your present and your past become one and the same?
Sometimes I feel as though in losing Ken, my whole life, present and past has become one long meditation on loss, whether I'm breathing in or breathing out.
I breathe out the past, our years of happy life together, the roll of memories, the warmth of skin and dark nights and real contact, the acceptance and understanding, the deep connection, the humor, the shared world-view, the pain of cancer and cancer treatments, the emotional ups and downs and disappointments, the new profound perspective that only life and death matters can provide, the unexpected turn of fate, the ultimate defeat by death, the shock and anguish and loneliness and disbelief. The less-ness of living solo. I breathe it out.
I breathe in my soft, young, forming, vibrant children, my energy moving, flagging, cascading, circling, my questions, my observations, my creative force, excitement and doubt and belief, hope for what is still to come, the strength of being stripped of the illusion of safety, the raw edges of change and growth. Contentment with what is. I breathe in the present which every day still means the present without you. I breathe it in.
The past is you, the present is without you. It's all still about you.
I meditate on loss every single day, breathing it in and out, again and again and again. I don't feel miserable. I feel alive.
This is Your Moment
What are you breathing in now? Name your present. Give it some words. Discover what you're taking in....
What are you breathing out as you exhale the past? Let it go.
- Jill Schacter
- My wonderful husband died when I was 44 years old. Being widowed this young happens to less than 3% of married people. Writing through this loss one word at time helps me understand what I've lost and helps me continue to grow. It is how I have gradually recovered from such a severe loss. Research shows that you can benefit from taking just 15 minutes a day to write out your deepest feelings as a way of healing. On the right side of this blog, you'll see a tag for Exercises to Try. If you need some help knowing how to use writing to help heal yourself, I suggest you start there.