Our guest author, Gina Consolino-Barsotti, is a nurse practitioner at Elmhurst College where she teaches Koru and works in the student wellness center.
It’s that time of year, where life as we had known it for the last few months begins to change: The gray skies, muddy pathways, and barren trees are replaced with golden daffodils stretching upwards towards the sun; Grape sized leaves adorn the once sleepy maples and the honey bees are coming out of hiding. Days are growing longer and if you pause and inhale deeply, you can even notice the perfume of spring.
Are you despairing because of the uncertainty of the next step?
Will you graduate?
Will you get that primo job?
Will you be successful in graduate school in the fall?
What will happen with your partner this summer?
Your worries are multitudinous like the stars, yet with these endings, paradoxically, emerge new beginnings, new opportunities. It just depends on how you look at it.
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Yes, that’s right, how you look at it.
Glass half-full or half empty. These transitions are both endings and beginnings. Seeing the excitement and challenge that comes along with the transition and change is a skill and a gift that can be enhanced by engaging in mindful or meditative practices like being aware of the breath.
One of my earliest meditation teachers, used to remind us in our breath awareness practice that if you are breathing, you are alive. She repeated over and over during our class:
“The fact that you are breathing suggests there is more right with you than wrong with you.”
When life is changing, it is easy to ruminate on all that is wrong. After all, our brains are sort of programmed with a natural negativity bias, assuming the worst which can lead to ruminating thoughts and big emotions.
Friends, you are breathing; you are alive. Remember, as you breathe today, there is more right with you than wrong with you. As you travel about your day, immersing yourself in studies, work and other extracurriculars, know that your breath is always with you. It is your touchstone to the reality of your life and your being. As the great Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh once said:
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
I invite you today to use this anchor, so you can truly see the beautiful awakenings and not just the endings of this time of year.
Tell us how the end of the school year is going and what’s to come next below .
Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash