When Things Are Tough

When things are tough, tougher than usual,
When life becomes more challenging than usual,
When you watch your loved ones struggling and feel helpless,
When you realize there is suffering all around you and your empathy is on overdrive,
When you feel the sadness creeping in,
When it seems that the sun hasn’t shone for days and days,
When the worry tightly winds itself up inside you,
When the tension is so taut that you might snap,
When it’s overwhelming and there’s just too much to handle,
When it feels like you can’t take another moment,

take a breath.

Even if you don’t want to.
Even if you’re too tired,
If you’re too sad,
If you’re too angry.
Even if you’d just rather collapse in to your own hopelessness,
or explode into your rage.

Take a breath.

Then force yourself to take a deeper breath.
Inhale big. Gasp!
Then let it out. A slow audible sigh.

Do it again. Just a little less dramatically.

As you inhale, think gratitude.
Grateful for this air.
Grateful for this breath.
Then as you sigh it out, relax your body just a little.
Inhale, grateful for this air.
Grateful for this breath.
Sigh. Relax a little.

Don’t stop. There’s nothing else you need to do.
There’s nothing but this gratitude,
this breath, this moment.

Inhale, grateful.
Sigh, relaxed.

Slowly begin to expand your vision beyond the breath.
Think about something else you’re grateful for.
Inhale gratitude for your eyes. Your ears. Your hands…
Exhale, relax.

Then expand your vision beyond yourself.
Think of other things you’re grateful for. Your friend. Your dog. Chocolate…
Relax.

Expanding further beyond objects,
Inhale. Grateful for experiences, opportunities, and challenges.
Exhale. Relax.

Inhale. Grateful for this life.
Exhale. Relax.

Inhale. Grateful.
Exhale. Relax.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Was it something specific that was bothering you? Is it something within your control? Can you do anything to change it? Yes, you can.

Start from gratitude.
Proceed with care.

…….

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