Own Your Beauty: Uniting Spirituality, Breath & Inspiration

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inhalebreathe

At the beginning of this month, I invited you guys to do an exercise with me:  to take some time each day and deeply inhale at least 10 times, the way that the lovely Karolyn invited us to do.  How have you done?

I fully intended to start each day with this breathing exercise, but my memory isn't what it used to be, and the truth is that more days than not, I just began my morning as I always have.  But I'm pleased to say that this notwithstanding, almost every day in the past month I would remember that I'd promised myself I would commit to this practice, and every day, I stopped what I was doing, and took 10 deep breaths.

Sometimes I would think about what I wanted for myself on the inhalation ... I breathe in calm ...

and then would think about what I wanted to rid myself of on the exhalation ... I breathe out worry ...

On the next breath, I'd come up with something else ... I breathe in health ... I breathe out tiredness ...

Sometimes I would just breathe.

At the end of a month of doing this, I'm surprised at some of the things I learned:  I discovered that without exception, I felt calmer and clearer and lighter at the end of the breathing exercise than I did at the beginning, regardless of how great I might have felt at the beginning.  I learned that if I was feeling angry or sad or poorly, even if at the end of the exercises these feelings remained, they had somewhat dissipated.  And I was stunned to realize that more often then not, when I got to the end of the 10 breaths, I wasn't eager to go back to what I was doing -- I wanted, instead to keep on breathing.

But there's something else.

Late last year, as I do every year, I chose a word for myself for the coming twelve months; that word is INSPIRE.  When I looked up the definition of INSPIRE, I found what you might expect:

to fill with an animating, quickening or exalting influence; to give rise to, bring about, cause; to influence or impel

However, I also found an additional entry:

to take into the lungs in breathing; inhale

So perhaps the most stunning thing I learned this month, while I did my breathing exercises, was that by controlling my breath, by calming my mind, by focusing on what I hoped for myself, I actually put myself in a state that made it easier for inspiration to find me.  It allowed me to focus.  To become more open-minded.  To ready myself for whatever was to come next.

It's no wonder that inspiration is so closely tied to the breath.  And on that note, I think I'm definitely going to keep going with my exercises.

I hope you enjoyed your own breathing practice as well -- and if you're open to it, I'd love if you'd share what you may have learned or observed in the comments section, below.

Still, and in any event:  go inspire yourself.


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Own Your Beauty is a groundbreaking, year-long movement bringing women together to change the conversation about what beauty means. Our mission: to encourage and remind grown women that it is never too late to learn to love one's self and influence the lives of those around us - our mothers, friends, children, neighbors. We can shift our minds and hearts and change the path we follow in the pursuit of authentic beauty.

Read more about Own Your Beauty or add your name to our statement of belief now.


Karen Walrond is a writer and photographer in Houston, Texas, and the author of the book, The Beauty of Different, available at Bright Sky Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  You can read/see more of her life at Chookooloonks.

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