Breathe in deeply, breathe out, repeat.…

So, I’m a published author, I made that dream a reality. What else is possible?

Breathe in deeply, breathe out.

If I can write and publish a book after dreaming about it for decades, then I believe anyone can. If I can survive sharing with the world the deepest hurt of my life and how I found my way home—what else is possible?

That’s what I kept asking myself just before I fell into a big emotional puddle the other day. Up to my neck drowning; again. Tears close to the surface, fear and anxiety rising, the joy disappearing under a tidal wave of overwhelm.

Breathe in deeply, breathe out.

Why does the negative so often outweigh the positive? What the hell is that about? What is wrong with me? I got so angry and frustrated with myself.

Breathe in deeply, breathe out.

Stop and think about that statement “what is wrong with me” for a minute.

So, I allowed some time to sit with it, allowed some time to say “get over it”. Nope, that’s not the answer. “For goodness sake, be grateful for what you’ve got.” Nope, that’s not it either.

Breathe in deeply, breathe out.

Pondering, mindful. I so often feel like I’m leaning in to the future, racing to get stuff done. Rarely resting.  There’s the whole fright and flight phenomenon that most people know but few know the balancing pair that complete the cycle – rest and digest. I need more rest and digest, to practice mindfulness.

Take some freaking time to celebrate the joy woman. You wrote and published a book.

Take time to rest and digest

And more than that, you know it’s making a difference. Here’s one of the beautiful notes I received…

“…just letting you know after only 14 pages of your book my mind is thinking differently about my own life thinking I’m definitely in need of change!!”

How would you feel if you received that? I was honoured, grateful, and humbled. Someone contemplating a radical transformation from reading about mine.

See-saw, down and up. Fear, joy, fear, joy.

There is this arbitrary but very persistent limit to how much joy I can have, how much happiness I deserve before the fear kicks in and I want to hide again.

Brené Brown talks about foreboding joy in her book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead. At the very moment when joy fills you, your head fills with images of disaster, pain, and sorrow. Your imagination tears up the joy, stomps on it, rips it out of you, and replaces it with the total opposite—you can’t have the joy; you don’t deserve it; it’ll never be yours, so stop dreaming. Why do we try to rip out that bubbling joy, to tear down the sunshine and rainbows?

Gay Hendricks in The Big Leap talks about how we upper limit ourselves, he says that our thermostats for joy and success are set too low. In plain language, every time we are having a beautiful moment, we sabotage it so that we stay out of our zone of genius and joy. Hendrick’s challenge to us is “Am I willing to feel good and have my life go well all the time?”

“Saying yes to that question is one of the most courageous actions a human being can take. In the face of so much evidence that life hurts and is fraught with adversity on all fronts, having a willingness to feel good and have life go well all the time is a genuinely radical act.”

Hendrick’s advice—breathe into your fear. Hang on a minute! I know how to…

Breathe in deeply, breathe out.

So, here’s the gem for me:

“Fear is excitement without the breath.”

The same mechanisms in our body that produce fear, also produce excitement: racing heartbeat, sweating, shaking, butterflies, sleeplessness…

Brian Johnson in his Philosopher’s Note on Hendrick’s book writes that the energy is neutral, it’s how we interpret if (via our thoughts/actions) that determines whether we experience excitement or fear. Hold your breath, take no action = fear. Breathe in deeply, breathe out, and act = excitement. And then I hear Simon Sinek say the same thing in a video today. Am I the only one who doesn’t know this? Or is it just my time to really know it.

With a single breath, we can change our life. It brings even more meaning to one of my favourite sayings “We become new with every breath we take.”

So, when fear threatens to overwhelm you at any time, when you can feel yourself draining the joy out of your best moment, try this…

Breathe in deeply, breathe out.

If I can, you can. Dare to begin. Right now.

Breathe in deeply, breathe out.

Have a fabulous festive season, see you next year.

Thanks for reading.

Veronica

If you’d like to know if the signposts I used to find my way home will point you in the right direction, gift yourself a copy of Breathing While Drowning: One Woman’s Quest for Wholeness.

If you’d rather listen that read, click HERE and you can download an audio recording of this blog.

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