We are a culture of the quick fix; we love a pill, we’re up for the procedure, and we want someone else to take responsibility for our health and make it better for us. And while in specific instances, pills and procedures can be helpful, even life-saving, these approaches have their downside; troublesome side effects, financial costs, and ineffectiveness at addressing the root cause of the problem.
I would like to add another drawback; they are external to us and do not require us to look at how we are getting to where we are in terms of our imbalances. When I think of my own personal medicine, before I go to anything outside of me, I try and check in with the inside first. What I mean be the “inside” is an approach that includes taking into account bodily sensations, thoughts, emotions and the state of my spirit. There are traditions that hold that when something shows up in the body, it is the final outcome of imbalances that began in other areas of our lives. And on some level, we all know this to be true. Often when we look back, we can see how the path we have been traveling on has gotten us to where we find ourselves today.
So, how do we begin? Do we possess any built-in medicines that would enliven the body and help us to slow down enough to notice the path we are on? We do, and it is called the breath. Oxygen is our single most important nutrient, without it we die in a matter of minutes. And while many of us survive based on how we are currently breathing, we are often far from thriving. The breath carries the life force for both body and spirit. Without a body breathing well we struggle to utilize glucose, the body’s energy source. We miss out on the purifying nature of oxygen which destroys viruses, parasites and fungi (Think pools that use oxygen to sanitize instead of chlorine). And our ability to know a clear mind and a deep connection to Spirit becomes muddled in our neglected and restricted breathing patterns.
Try this. Once a day, pause wherever you are and take five, slow, deep breaths. As you breathe in think; “Long, slow, deep, breath in” and as you breathe out, “Long, slow, deep, breath out.” Notice what you are feeling, thinking and experiencing in the body. Notice and shift something. Anything, even if it’s as seemingly insignificant as the hair tie that is too tight.