This time of year, it simply may not be possible to “slow down” or take something off your to-do list. On top of that, when we’re the only one responsible for getting it all done, it’s easy to feel alone and overwhelmed.
To help work with this feeling, I’ve been calling on a relatively easy breathing practice. I first came in contact with this Tonglen meditation from Pema Chodron and am so grateful that I did. It’s simple and I’m sharing here it to the extent to which it may be helpful.
On your next inhale, you breathe in all the panic (or hurriedness, or depression, etc.) of all the millions of people who are feeling exactly as you are feeling in this moment. Then as you breathe out, send white light, peace, calmness, to all those who are struggling just like you are. Repeat at least five times. Its a powerful way to reignite the compassion that resides in all of us, and simultaneously connect us with the rest of humanity.
So, here’s my twist on this. The traditional practice would have you sitting for half hour or longer in meditation. But, I’ve had to modify this for our busy lives: Do this meditation while you’re actively engaged in your life. If while you’re shopping, cleaning, packing, wrapping, cooking, that stuck feeling emerges, then focus on this meaningful exchange of your own breath. The really cool thing is that because you’re active while you’re practicing this meditation, it actually energetically charges the meditation and I believe magnifies its effectiveness in helping to rebalance and restore our own inner harmony.