A regular practice in my life has been remembering to consciously breathe. Yea, yea I’ve never actually forgotten to take those simple breathes that supply oxygen to my cells – but doing it in a very intentional manner is one of those things that was actually shut down during my childhood.
When I was younger, I clearly remember some of the adults in my life taking big exhales during times of stress, and being the empathic child that I was I quickly absorbed all the “yuck” they were exhaling as if I were an extra absorbant sponge. As one might guess, it didn’t feel so good. I remember at one point making a conscious decision that I would try very hard never to make noise when I breathed so as not to affect others around me.
Fast forward 20 years and I quite frequently found myself feeling my body all locked up, headachy, stiff, unenergized, etc. It took me several years to realize part of why I felt so terrible was because my breaths had turned into shallow inhales, and only when absolutely neccessary. Eventually, I finally made the connection that the decision I had vividly made when I was a child, to take silent breaths, had turned into something so much more. I had completely pushed any consciousness out of the way I was feeding my body what it needs to support not only my cells, but also my spirits’ ability to connect into my physical being.