For Those Experiencing Depression, Take a Deep Breath!

For Those Experiencing Depression, Take a Deep Breath!

In Chinese medicine, the lung and the large intestine are intimately connected.  Lung energy corresponds to the intake of new things and new ideas, and Large Intestine energy relates to letting go of things that no longer serve us.  
When we are depressed, we start to breathe shallowly because we don’t want to take in anything new anymore.  We are too exhausted or overwhelmed to take in anything new.  Everything seems like a struggle.  It’s hard, it’s brutal, and the pain can feel so very insurmountable!
For sure, taking medication seems like the easiest route to climbing out of our black hole, and getting beyond our struggle.  How great it would be if our negative feelings could just dissolve within a few hours or a few days with medication?!
Medication doesn’t work well for a lot of people, though.  And even for people it does seem to help, the majority of them would prefer an alternative to taking medication with side effects.
Enter breathwork!  This practice is extremely helpful for depression.  Breathwork is also highly effective in ameliorating other related conditions, including anxiety, insomnia and overall tension.
The very act of taking a breath is life affirming.  You are choosing life with every breath.  You’re choosing to go on and continue….to see what life has in store for you around the bend.
The more we breathe deeply, the more oxygen we supply to ourselves.  Conscious breathing simultaneously lifts our vibration and gives us more energy.  This makes it much harder for the negative emotions to stay lodged in our tissue, which gives us the ability to shift our perceptions of ourselves and the world.
Because breathing is a physical process, it changes us on a cellular level.   Deep breathing literally and emotionally helps us to define and redefine who we are.  After a breathwork class, we physically feel different as a result of the deep breathing, and may find ourselves able to once again take in things that are new.
A ray of sunshine starts to peek through, into our inner being.
Maybe our life is different from how we thought it would turn out when we were 18, but maybe this different life has taught us many things, and maybe our life can be more spectacular than we had ever imagined.  
Breathwork brings us back into present time and enables us to connect to people and life around us.  It’s a simple but highly effective tool. Try it when you can!!
When We Are Out of Sync with Those Closest to Us

When We Are Out of Sync with Those Closest to Us

Have you ever been extremely close to someone, felt like you were so in sync with them…and then at some point, the two of you hit a place where you were either growing at different speeds, or growing in opposite directions?

This happens to ALL of us at a certain point along the road of our relationship, whether it’s a love relationship, a friendship, a work relationship or a family relationship.  Experiencing periods of being out of sync is inevitable, because we all have our own paths to follow, and our own trials to overcome.  Sometimes we will come back into harmony and sometimes we will not…this is a reality of life that is hard for many of us to accept. 

But what creates the lack of syncing? And if it’s possible to get back into harmony with someone, how do we do it?

The starting point for our falling out of sync with another is when one of us hits a roadblock that we don’t know how to navigate.  Trials and roadblocks arise on the path of life, whether we like it or not, and no one is denied such experiences. However, each of us has different ways of dealing with roadblocks.  Some of us back up and take a detour, some of us get out a shovel or jackhammer and start chipping away, and some of us sit and wait for it to be removed by a miraculous, and perhaps illusory, outside force.

We like to deal with our most complex issues on our own terms.  Take it at our own pace. Not be pushed or shoved into growing faster than we feel comfortable with.  We get upset, frustrated and resentful if someone is constantly pushing us out of our comfort zone.  If it is someone we have asked to do that for us, like a coach or mentor, then their nudging is generally appreciated, as long as it’s not abusive.  But if being a hired coach or mentor is NOT the role the other person is playing in our lives, we will slowly start to move away from that person, if they do not relent with their pushing.  

This dynamic is obvious when we are the ones on the hot seat, dealing with the roadblock.

But, when it comes to others around us dealing with their roadblocks, we can often step into what the Buddhist’s call our “self-cherishing ego”. We are often not as patient with our loved ones, and want them to take action and resolve their issues quickly.  We want the issue to be out of the way so it doesn’t interrupt the flow of our relationship with them.  We might even want them to follow our advice on how to resolve their issues, and react anywhere from passively aggressive to outright aggressive, if they don’t heed our wisdom. 

And then what happens is…that person starts backing away from us, consciously or unconsciously.  This is the start of the unsync-ing.  

But, you may say, aren’t we meant to be in each other’s lives for a reason?  Aren’t we supposed to push each other and help one another up the mountain?  YES!  

However, when we are overly directive or aggressive in helping people with their issues, then the problem is that we have taken their issue on as our own.  This is a big no-no in the journey of the soul.

The problem with taking on other people’s issues as our own is that this weakens our energy and theirs as well, because it wasn’t OUR lesson to learn to begin with.  Even if we convince the other person to do what we have advised them to do, if the action doesn’t originate from their own desire and drive, then we have only delayed the other person from truly learning their lesson.

So what to do?  How to help another without over-pushing and creating them to back away?

  • Give your loved one space to resolve the issue on their own terms and at their own pace.  Your growth will be in developing patience and trust.  Remember, it’s their issue, not yours.  This includes backing off and giving them space even in your thoughts.  People can sense on a deep level what you are thinking, and it affects their attitude towards you. 


  • Ask them if they’d like help with their issue.  And if they say no, you can gently let them know that it’s harder to go it alone, and that you’re there for them if they need.  But then you have to respect their answer.


  • Instead of telling them what outside action to take, help them find someone to work through the inner issue.  For example, if they are not taking action because of fear, a therapist or coach could possibly them talk through their fear, instead of talking through a step-by-step plan.  


  • Remind them that they have all the wisdom and strength inside of them, if they are willing to tap into it.


  • Surrender, and let go of control.  Let the process of the life happen…use your energy for you.  Channel your energy into what you want to create…!!


Chant Away Your Fear

Chant Away Your Fear

Even though NYC is seemingly getting its legs to start to approach ‘normal’, there is still a lot of uncertainty in the air. We don’t know where the economy is going, where the presidency is going, where the virus is going, or if there will be a second wave. Can we send our children to school?

Many people respond to this type of uncertainty with fear…or anger that masks the fear…or both. They want to KNOW what’s going to happen. But of course, at times like these, there is no way of knowing even if you have the ‘best’ astrologer, psychic, clairvoyant, what-have-you. Why? Because certain things aren’t meant to be seen…they are meant to be experienced in real time, for our own learning and growth.

So how then, do we relate with equanimity to what is happening in the external world?

Cutting past all the details, the key question to ask ourselves in this time is this…does fear or anger have to be my reflexive response to what is happening in the world?

When we have fear and anger in our hearts, it can be very difficult to progress in our lives. Fear paralyzes and like a boulder, it weighs us down. Anger creates heat and irritability, and like fire, has the capacity to create great damage when not properly attended to.

Whatever fear or anger we carry in our hearts and in our minds, emanates outward and influences those around us. Likewise, any fear or anger in those around us will impact our energetic field in a negative way, if we do not counteract it.

Those of us who carry a conscious level of fear and anger don’t like being that way. We wish we weren’t! Our minds tell us not to be afraid or not to be angry, but our bodies can react without asking our mind what’s going on. So then, what to do?

A powerful way of clearing negative emotion of any kind in our being, is to chant mantras…Tibetan, Sanskrit, Hebrew…it doesn’t matter. Mantras are sacred syllables handed down to us throughout the centuries, gifts given to us from those who came before.

We chant in order to feel the vibration of the Divine…because anger, at its root is always fear. And fear, at its root…is always a disconnect from the Divine. Even if we don’t think we even believe in the Divine, there is a part of us that feels the disconnect. Like the Princess and the Pea, some part of us feels the pain of this disconnect, even under 100 mattresses.

Chanting helps us re-establish this connection, and in this way, it slowly but surely clears our negative emotions. It has been said in the Mandukya Upanishad that the “OM” mantra is the only mantra we ever need to chant to attain enlightenment. And yet, the other mantras were given to us so that we would be able to experience different aspects of our heart energy. So let yourself try whatever mantra speaks to you.

Mantras are tools, and tools were meant to be used. If you have not already tried it, I encourage you to pick up the tool of chanting, and just try it out. Allow yourself to experience the vibration within you as you chant….and chant with joy! Let the vibrations circulate through your body and they will slowly clear the fear and the anger in your heart, in your mind, in your entire being. In the end, the cleansed feeling is undeniable.

The Compassionate Side Of Self-Talk

The Compassionate Side Of Self-Talk

During the recent period of quarantine that we are now hopefully emerging from, did the quality, pitch and timbre of your inner voice become more apparent to you? For many people, it became more noticeable, and what many people noticed was that they could clearly benefit from a massive upgrade of their self-talk!

In fact, kind and compassionate self-talk is perhaps the single most significant habit we can take on, to upgrade the quality of our lives.

All day long, our minds are giving us a running commentary on everything we are experiencing in life. For many of us, this running commentary can be momentarily positive…but then will swoop downwards and be quite negative…particularly if we have high expectations of ourselves and we don’t deliver. We can also be exceedingly harsh with ourselves when we feel like we have made a mistake about something, or exercised an error in judgment.

Do any of these statements sound familiar? “I’m so stupid!” “Why did I do that?” “You idiot!”

So let me ask you…who wants to listen to that? We wouldn’t want to hear these statements coming at us from a friend or family member, so why exactly do we tolerate it from ourselves? Mostly, because of habit. We are so used to not being kind to ourselves internally that we don’t even notice anymore. Unfortunately, for many of us, it has become normal to berate ourselves, so it doesn’t stick out.

The good news is: the moment we proactively work on shifting our “inner critic” to our “inner coach” is the moment we have more energy available to ourselves. It eats a lot of energy to withstand criticism, even from ourselves. This is very often why people who are depressed have little energy. They are critical of themselves and the choices they have made in the past. They may even have friends and family who are critical, and their inner being has no one to champion them.

Whatever the case may be, it becomes our responsibility to upgrade our self talk. I always encourage people to shift from being critical of themselves to being highly fascinated. Instead of “What the heck was I thinking?!” you say “Wow, I did that…(lost my wallet, said something mean about someone, did something hurtful)…fascinating!”

Be interested enough to examine your motivation, and then you can learn from your behavior. This gives us the opportunity to shift.

Example: “Wow, I lost my keys again! Fascinating how I can’t seem to hold on to them. Better make some more copies.” End of story. No judgment necessary.

Tougher example: “Wow, I said something so mean about that person! Guess I have some negativity that really needs to be cleared. Ok, next meditation, I will have to contemplate that.”

So observe your actions without being harsh. And coach yourself positively into helpful action.

Lastly, be free and liberal with your self-acknowledgment. A handful of us are too full of ourselves, and could use some humbling. But the majority of us would do well with being more positive and aware of all the good we do. Be sure to compliment yourself daily. Turn your inner critic into your inner champion and best support system. You will notice the difference, and so will those around you!