Presence & Breath

It’s no secret that soul searching, spirituality, meditation, and all those good things are a big part of my life. Personal growth is a bit of an obsession of mine, and I love to learn new things and try new practices as part of my personal development and spiritual journey. Meditation is something that I practice daily, and today I want to write about two practices that are closely related to meditation: presence and breath.

A few years ago, I participated in this awesome group coaching program focused on eating disorders and body image issues. The foundation for this work was very soul-centered, which is one of the reasons why I was drawn to it in the first place. In fact, I was so drawn to this organization, that I now work for it, helping others with personal growth, transformation, healing, and the like.

Two of the pillars of this work are presence and breath, which I’ve learned from personal experience can have a profound effect on our day to day life, especially when it comes to daily stress and anxiety.

Being present on the daily is a challenging endeavor. It can take dedicated and constant observation of your thoughts and feelings to shift into presence. The cool thing about this practice though, is that you quickly discover that in those fleeting moments of full presence, it really is a rewarding and perspective-shifting experience. I find this especially true as someone who is trying to:

  • Connect with my body on a deeper level,
  • Be more aware of my life and how I show up day in and day out,
  • Access higher states of consciousness and divine wisdom daily, and
  • Be more positive and optimistic in general.

Breath is a huge part of practicing presence. I don’t think you can have one without the other. Really think about it – breathing is this involuntary act that we do constantly to stay alive. But when you really hone in on it and focus on it with intent and curiosity, it can become a great tool that helps alleviate stress and promote wellness. Breathing can literally cause a state change in your body. I’ve found breathing to be really useful when it comes to:

  • Meditation: Focusing on my breath can help me drop into a meditative state quicker, and go deeper into my meditation.
  • Stress/Anxiety: When I feel myself getting overwhelmed, I’ll stop and take a few deep breaths until I feel more centered and less anxious.
  • Disordered Eating: It’s impossible to binge if you’re present (and focusing on your breath). Most of the time, if I want junk or am heading toward binge autopilot, it’s because of stress or some other #donotwant emotion that I’m trying to suppress with a quick state change – hence the magic of breath.
  • Body Connection: I’ve started to experiment with breathwork, and I’ve found that it helps me connect into my body and really FEEL it in a way that I never have before. It’s insanely mind-blowing, I can literally feel the energy moving throughout me, where I have stuck emotion/energetics, and I just feel so much more alive.

So how do you start practicing presence and breath?

I started out by setting daily alarms on my phone, usually for 9AM, 1PM, and 7PM. When the alarm would go off, I’d take a moment to breathe and center myself and then check in with myself to see if I needed a shift or to do anything (drink water, walk away from work for a bit, cord cut, etc.). At first it was challenging, especially for the first two alarms that went off during work hours. I’d often be too busy to stop, so I’d just shut off the alarm and keep working. BUT when I actually started to commit to these practices and respected the alarms and daily check ins, I noticed such a difference in my mental and physical states that I now do presence/breathing check ins frequently throughout the day without using any alarms.

As for the literal practice I use, it goes something like this:

  1. I close my eyes and take three deep breaths. I favor 6-3 breathing (inhale for a count of 6, hold for a count of 3, exhale for a count of 6, hold for a count of 3, repeat).
  2. Take inventory. Mental inventory is when you check in with your mindset and emotions. Are you feeling sad? Anxious? Angry? Physical inventory focuses more on your body and visceral state: are you hungry? Thirsty? Tired? Sometimes I take inventory of my surroundings, just noticing what’s going on around me: the conversations, the colors, the furniture, the light, etc.

There are so many benefits when it comes to presence and breath. The biggest benefit of presence is also the meaning of it – to just be in the here and now, where everything is okay, the past is long gone, and the future hasn’t happened yet. The benefit of breath is that you can really hone it to become a tool for your health and wellness. It can up your meditation game and help you learn to alleviate stress and anxiety – those are some game changers right there.

I think there’s something magical in that such simple practices can have a truly profound impact on your overall health and happiness.

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Channeled Message: Your Sacred Vessel

So many of you dear loves spend a majority of your life rushing from one responsibility to another. You’ve barely made time within your schedule to do what you WANT to do, let alone connect with yourself, and your vessel, on a much deeper level.

At the same time, so many of you feel alone. This goes beyond social isolation. There are moments, even when you are surrounded by others, perhaps those you hold most dear, when you feel a deep sense of emptiness. The type of loneliness that may drive you to behaviors to “numb out,” such as overeating, drinking, spending money, etc.

There is a better way to fill that void – come home to yourself. Live in your vessel. Do you ever stop to wonder at the amazing creation that is your sacred body? Do you take stray moments to REALLY, truly appreciate your vessel and all it does for you?

How it carries you throughout every moment of every day. How it allows you to experience this lifetime to the fullest extent. How it is your sacred home on this earth, in this lifetime. Your vessel is your constant companion, no matter what.

That is a gift – one you should take time to revel in. Do not just use your body, live within it, appreciate it, care for it, and love it, as it loves you.

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Weekly Wisdom: Creative Planning & Trust In the Unknown

The theme of this week’s card, the 2 of Fire, is all about creative planning for the future and trusting in the unknown.

“The light of Spirit helps me to see my way and feel the Universe aligning to bring me what I need.”

That line from the card description really struck me, as I know this is something that is really relevant and active for quite a few of my close friends.

When we want things to change or to manifest new opportunities, situations, and ways of being into our lives, it can be challenging to just put the ask out there and surrender so the Universe can do its thing.

I know for me personally, I am a fake!OCD over-planner and control freak who wants to know when and how things will happen lol. But that’s literally the opposite of flow. That’s all force that stems from fear and a lack of trust.

I think the sweet spot here is to get really clear on what you want, ask for it and set the intention to allow it to flow into your life, visualize the heck out of it without being attached to the when or how, and then just let go and trust that it will come to you when it’s meant to.

CARD SOURCE: The 2 of Fire card is from The Good Tarot deck by Colette Baron-Reid. To read the card’s full message, check out my Instagram stories!

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I Thought I Was an Atheist

Yearsss before I got sucked into the world of spirituality, intuition, and soul searching, I thought I was an atheist. Well, until I realized there was a difference between an atheist (one who doesn’t believe in God or gods) and a theist (one who does). I was definitely more of a theist, I was just kind of allergic to organized religion.

Both of my parents had grown up Catholic, and my dad in particular did not revel in that experience. Starting at a young age, Catholicism had a negative connotation for me, and since it was the only religion or source of spirituality I was exposed to, I thought it was all that existed.

I remember trying to read the Bible as a young child and finding it frightening. I also remember numerous times when my siblings and I would be “bad,” and my dad would threaten to send us to Sunday School.

Still, I knew, even as a child, that I believed in something, I just didn’t know what. I discovered that much later, into my twenties, when I reconnected with a former coworker. It was a total act of divine intervention that I felt so called to reach out to this woman, who had been no more than a casual work acquaintance. 

We were both going through a rough time and quickly found solace in our new friendship. As a way to pass the time, we started to pull oracle cards for guidance and healing, which soon turned into “meditating,” which we would later learn was actually us channeling and giving each other psychic readings. (My friend is a legit psychic medium whose readings and accuracy still blow my mind to this day.)

The rest, as they say, is history 😉 Long gone are my “atheist” days. Now I geek out over anything spiritual and am a total nerd when it comes to learning about others’ beliefs, religions, and practices. 

I believe in source or a higher power. I believe that we are infinite souls who reincarnate into new lives over and over again, and in between those lifetimes, we hang back on the “other side,” or soul realm, to learn, guide, and evolve. It’s funny, I’ve had these kind of beliefs for a looong time, and last year I read Journey of Souls by Michael Newton for the first time, and was blown away by how a complete stranger wrote so detailed an account of my own beliefs. 

I think, at the end of the day, we all want to believe in something else, something bigger, and know that there is something out there that is watching over us and guiding us along the path of life. And what that looks like and feels like for each person is different, and that’s okay. It’s pretty beautiful actually.

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Channeled Message: To Each Their Own

Dear heart, you live in an age when you are surrounded by others in mass. Their lives, beliefs, goals, dreams, aspirations, and personalities are on public display 24/7. There is a constant noise that may make it difficult for you to tap into who you truly are at your core.

Societal standards and expectations may be keeping you small. You may feel like you don’t measure up and you never will. Everywhere you turn, you are surrounded by those so unlike you–who seem to reap great success–as well as message after message explaining why you are so deeply flawed and it is not okay to be yourself.

These are lies.

Everything about you is perfect. From the way you live your life, to how you look, to your darkest shame, to your greatest joy. All of these things, and everything in between, make up the beautiful soul that you now are in this lifetime.

If you find this truly difficult to comprehend, your own perfection, you must get quiet and go inward. Escape the daily hustle of all that is around you, quiet the noise, be still, and just listen. Feel. Connect with your soul, your own divine source. The core of your being, that celestial spark that makes up who you are in this life–and many past, and many more in the future–knows how truly special you are.

You are a gift. You are meant to be seen, heard, and loved. For all that you are, and all that you aren’t. The key to being uniquely you is to focus on yourself more than you focus on others.

Embrace yourself wholly, as we do, and know that you are so incredibly loved.

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Weekly Wisdom: Faith in the Process

Do you struggle with keeping the faith? This is one of my biggest challenges – really trusting the process and surrendering, especially when things are hard and seem to be moving at a snail’s pace.

Overplanning and trying to control every last detail seems so much more effective than having faith. But I also know from personal experience, that in those moments when I believe that there’s a greater plan, and I loosen my white-knuckle grip on life, those moments usher so much magic into my life.

If you’ve reached a point where you feel like all is lost, nothing is going according to plan, and giving up would be SO much easier – know that you are supported. Dig deep and tap into your faith.

You are part of something so much larger than yourself, and your life serves a greater purpose than you know.

It is time to trust. Have complete faith in the process. It’s when you surrender and let go of attachment that the Universal magic can really take effect. Through trust and faith, you’ll find peace, and maybe even some inspiration 🙂

CARD SOURCE: The Faith in the Process card is from the Sacred Rebels Oracle deck by Alana Fairchild. To read the card’s full message, pop on over to my Instagram check out my IG stories!

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