Even I Can Breathe Consciously

I am seeking a practical spirituality. It is much harder than I thought it would be.

Even watching a PBS special with Deepak Chopra, he said that a couple of the requirements for developing higher-level consciousness are lower stress levels and not being too busy. Well, duh! And I had such hope. It is definitely much easier to feel spiritual when not in the midst of trauma.

Yesterday, however, I bought the latest issue of Shambhala Sun. There is an article from Pema Chodron about conscious breathing. It helps to provide the emotional and spiritual space in which good decisions can be made. Now, that’s what I call practical spirituality!

I have to handle various situations that life presents to me—at life’s discretion and timing, not mine. My control level over the events in my life is minimal. Today, the window guy called and wanted a deposit. I don’t have checks, so I ran to the credit union and got a cashier’s check to pay him in full to replace our crappy living room and bedroom windows. What part of this situation do I have any control over? I was not in charge of when he called, when the credit union was open, or when he came to pick up his check. He will go to Menard’s and order the windows. Obviously, I am not in charge of the inventory at Menard’s. And then, finally, when the windows do arrive, I will be completely and utterly dependent on my parents to babysit Barry while the windows are installed (because the process is disruptive with people going in and out of the house, along with the noise and dust).

But I can consciously breathe. And it helped today. It helped me to literally “take a breather.” The weather has been amazing, upper 70s and lower 80s. There is a certain poignancy in late summer/early fall. I can maybe even enjoy parts of today and approach things with more equanimity. Who’d a’thunk it?

I really want to go on retreat, sesshin, or whatever. I need a break—desperately. It’s just not an option right now. But I can breathe consciously. Thank you, Pema.

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About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

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