A Little Breath of Fresh Air

It is no lie that I have been MIA these past few weeks. I’ve felt so guilty that I have not even put aside time to read my favorite blogs. So, if you haven’t seen me around liking your posts or commenting here and there, it is not because I have not wanted to!

In all honesty, I have just been in the process of taking everything in and doing my best to let everything go just as much as I receive. I have been working hard in all my classes, wanting to put my best effort forward, but also letting go any bad feelings of anxiety or stress go too. It becomes so easy to forget that really important step of release, no matter what it is we take on. This is the lesson I learned recently.

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The other day, I was asked by someone whether or not I would recommend the high school I graduated from to their daughter. I immediately went on the defensive and said “no”. High school was definitely the biggest learning curve of my life up until this moment, even more so than college. To this day, I hold some sadness inside me from things I said and did in high school and for the friends I lost in the process. Here I am, four years later, still breathing in that negativity. I later asked M whether or not he thought my response was justified, and he was honest with me. While no doubt I had a difficult time at my high school and so did many of my friends; that does not mean it was a horrible place. All of a sudden an old wound opened that I thought I had left in the past. I found myself crying from my own frustration and all the emotions that had stayed hastily stitched up inside me.

One of the hardest things for me to comprehend when reading The Power of Now, was the idea that our past does not define us. My whole life and much of psychology says the complete opposite. The whole idea of nature vs. nurture was being thrown out the window. I had always believed that our experiences made us who we were, and here Tolle was saying:

…the past gives you an identity and the future holds the promise of salvation, of fulfillment in whaterver form. Both are illusions.

While he went on to say that “All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present… Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms
of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence,” I was still hung up with the idea of not being identified with my past, no matter how much I agreed with the relevance and truth of what the past can do.

Then today I opened up my copy of The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo, I ironically read the next chapter called “Practicing”. And this is the quote I will leave you with, because it seemed to be the answer to my dilemma of the ever haunting past. I just need to practice releasing along with my receiving.

Breathing is the fundamental unit of risk, the atom of inner courage that leads us into authentic living. With each breath, we practice opening, taking in, and releasing. Literally, the teacher is under our nose. When anxious, we simply have to remember to breathe.

So often we make a commitment to change our ways, but stall in the face of old reflexes as new situations arise. When gripped by fear or anxiety, the reflex is to hold on, speed up, or remove oneself. Yet when we feel the reflex to hold on, that is usually the moment we need to let go. When we feel the urgency to speed up, that is typically the instant we need to slow down. Often when we feel the impulse to flee, it is the opportunity to face ourselves. Taking a deep meditative breath, precisely at this moment, can often break the momentum of anxiety and put our psyche in neutral. From here, we just might be able to step in another direction.

~Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening, p.36

I really wanted to quote the entire chapter, but thought that would be too intense. May this little nugget help anyone out there who needs to let go whatever it is you may be holding onto, so you can arise lighter. As I sit here with a purring cat in my lap, I can’t help but feel much lighter 😉

xx, Kassie

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