Do you have time to breath?

Updated: Oct 9

Dear Qi friends,

How are you feeling right now?

We hear this question many times a day, but when do we actually take the time to connect deeply with our Hearts before answering?

I ask again. Take your time this time.

How are you feeling?

Here in the northern hemisphere, Summer is in full swing, flowers are blooming everywhere and berries are on every farmer’s market shelf. It is generally time to enjoy well-earned vacations after months of hard work and busy life.

Are you discovering a new corner of our planet? Are you visiting family? Going camping with friends? Trying out new activities? Attending festivals? Doing some renovations on your home? Helping friends to move to a new place? Or maybe you don’t have any time off and you are driving kids every morning to day camps before rushing to work to attend a series of meetings while “real” work waits on your desk?

Do you have time to breathe?

I met an old friend lately and I was exhausted just hearing her telling me about all of her summer plans. In our non-stop high pace life, most of us have forgotten the simple art of resting. And not only did we forget about it, but if we find ourselves in a situation doing nothing – even for 5 tiny minutes -, we shame ourselves!

And this is without forgetting about the continuous busy & noisy environment where we find ourselves. Our senses are constantly bombarded with multiple pieces of information - and bad news - at a speed that we can’t keep up with despite our sincere efforts.

No wonder, in those circumstances, we have lost touch with ourselves, and most of the time relegate our health concerns to the bottom of our to-do list. We take our health and our well-being for granted. We don’t realize all the energy required for our bodies to maintain us on track. And we go about our lives each day without noticing we borrow energy from our tissues, our organs, and even more deeply at the very core of our cells.

So, I ask again:

How are you feeling, truly?

The Fire Yang Energy of Summer is expansive and invites us to express outward and be in relationship with others and the world around us. But like anything else in life, we need balance. I believe we can enjoy the beautiful, long, sunny days of summer AND find time to nurture ourselves, to self-care. We can be in relationships with others and the world around us AND place our very own well-being at the center of our life.

Often, we think we need to seek extraordinary experiences and put aside a large amount of time (and money) to take care of ourselves. But self-care can and should be part of our everyday life regardless of how much we are busy or whatever we are going through. In fact, including the “habit” of taking care of ourselves in our day-to-day life will help us out when facing a challenging time.

What is self-care?

Self-care is a set of activities that allow us to attune and respond to our needs and desires in the present moment. It is anything that supports, anything that refuels our energy. These activities include practices that take care of our body, cultivate a positive mental attitude about ourselves and life in general, and help us to develop a strong spiritual connection.

But, be careful! This has nothing to do with another thing to add to our to-do list. It is not about finding new, more activities to enhance our life. It is quite the opposite actually!

I like to think of self-care as an energetic tone. It is about cultivating a state of being instead of a state of doing. It is something that brings back balance to our life, lights our inner fire and keeps it burning. It is this gesture that makes us feel deeply in allegiance to ourselves, be in accordance with who we truly are, and make us rejoice in living. It becomes not something we do, but rather something we are; a new way of going in life.

Our well-being depends upon our intention to nourish ourselves and live a life that is in alignment with our Essence and to have healthy relationships with others and the world around us. It takes commitment.

Most of us carry layers and layers of physical pain or disorders, emotional distress, and even traumas. Being mindful, developing a state of conscious awareness, and reconnecting to our life is what can help us to implement and sustain self-care practices and finally experience a profound sense of well-being.

In my personal experience, I’ve come to understand that if we want to implement lasting change in our life, it can’t come from the same place where we usually run our life. Self-care can’t come from the same place where we sometimes hurt/harm ourselves. We need to take a step back to fully embrace the picture. We need to completely shift our perception. To land in that space where this potential shift can arise, we need to first stop and rest. We need to come back to our body, to our senses, to attune to our inner feelings. And to do that, we need silence and stillness. We need to SLOW UP. When we are courageous enough to give ourselves the space we need to pause no matter what anyone else thinks, then we can hear what is whispered inside of us and get empowered to act with kindness toward ourselves. We can then develop self-acceptance, self-compassion, and true love for the human being that we are.

Practicing Qigong is certainly a good way to reach that inner space of silence and stillness. Standing postures, slow movements, breathwork, and meditations induce calm in the body and the mind and allow us to become more intimate with ourselves and tap into our own wisdom. Qigong also provides an opportunity to connect with nature and the Elements. Especially if we can practice outside in a natural setup like a park. Connecting with nature is connecting with ourselves because we are nature. When we care about nature, we care about ourselves. And when we care about ourselves, we start to care about nature. It goes hand in hand together.

I believe that every one of us has the ability to activate one’s own nurturing power. Of course, it takes first devotion before it becomes part of who we are, part of our identity. But when we dedicate our energy and our will to our healing, our healing happens.

I invite you to offer yourself permission this summer to pause and explore more deeply ways of bringing self-care into your life. How do you feel? What do you need? What do you wish?

May you find your way.

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