Friday, January 23, 2009

Counting the Sighs

Whenever I’m at the beach, I enjoy the process of watching and feeling the tension leave my body and mind. Something about the sound and sight of the crashing waves, the smell of the salty air and the sand beneath my feet melts way all the cares and burdens of life.

I noticed on one such trip that, as I walked along the beach, I was sighing deeply over and over again. I don’t usually do this so it caught my attention. The sighs were not the defeated, depleted kind. These sighs were the type that gently expels all that needs to be released – leaving one with a feeling of relief and deep peace. Ahhhhhhhh….

My friend Bill was with me, and we started talking a little bit about the ‘sighs.’ He was doing it too!

We noticed that we were breathing more deeply, walking more slowly than we usually do, and of course… we were letting off these deep sighs.

We started to count the sighs, and to even occasionally take a deliberate deep breath and let out even louder sighs as we exhaled. It felt marvelous. We were amazed at the effect of this simple body process.

Something about the beach naturally calls us to relax, to breathe deeply and to let go of inner tension. The good news is we don’t have to be at the beach to experience this! We can do this anytime, anywhere!

I’ve been trying to remember the lessons of my beach trip, and take deep breaths more often. I even try to take in deep breaths and exhale audibly in impressive sighs – to conjure that experience of deep calmness and relief. It works!

Give sighing (the positive kind) a try! And… next time you’re at the beach, or somewhere naturally relaxing, see if your body doesn’t start doing that automatically. It’s really quite fascinating – and informative! We can learn a lot from what our bodies do naturally when given the opportunity!

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