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“Breathe in, breathe out—peace is near.”

13 February 2024

Allison used Breathing Makes It Better: A Book for Sad Days, Mad Days, Glad Days, and All the Feelings In-Between to shore up her daily habit of Morning Moments.

Tags: allison read, breathing, grief, mindfulness, picture books

I first read this wonderful picture book two years ago when Rachel blogged about it in February 2022. (Breathing well is one of the most important things we remind ourselves and our clients to do.) Reading Rachel’s words always inspires and centers me.

Soon thereafter, I read the book to my five-year old friend Emma, and we agreed the words helped us to feel better and that we loved the pictures. Owls and bunnies are featured throughout which is special to us since she has a bunny stuffed animal, and I have two owl stuffies (Bash and Hoot) who go with me when I travel.

We got to the end of the book and did one of the exercises the authors recommend where we lay on the floor, put our stuffed animals on our bellies, and watched them go up and down as we inhaled and exhaled. When we were done, we felt even more peaceful.

For the last two years, this book has been on my office table where people have enjoyed thumbing through it. I would look at it and smile but didn’t reread it very often. Then, last month my 20-year-old friend Nalani came to visit. I’ve known her since she was born because her Mama, Natalie Brown, is one of our trusted partners. Nalani has been giving me good advice since she first started to talk.

Nalani knows I’ve been doing the hard work of grieving my Daddy’s death 13 months ago. He was very sick from Parkinson’s Disease and my Mama was declining daily as she worked to be his caregiver. Daddy was ready to die, and with the help of Hospice of the Piedmont we granted his wish of dying at home.

I am so relieved he is free of a body that no longer worked for him, and that Mama is now recovered from the exhaustion of caregiving and enjoying her new life in Charlottesville. When sadness overshadows my relief, I read the article Michael Gordon wrote in The Charlotte Observer about Daddy's life after he read the obituary I wrote. It brings me such comfort and reminds me how peaceful and happy Daddy would want us to be. However, I miss my daily talks with Daddy and have suffered some PTSD from what it took to help him die at home. I am on the mend and getting better each week, but when Nalani suggested I read this book to myself every morning, I knew she was onto something!

Every morning before I talk with anyone or check email, the internet, news outlets, or social media, I do a short meditation, say my affirmations, write my morning pages, and read one poem from whatever poetry book I’m enjoying that month. I call this 10 to 15-minute ritual my Morning Moments, and it helps me to start my day.

Two weeks ago, I added reading Breathing Makes it Better to myself and already I’ve made bigger strides in my recovery. I find myself saying phrases from the book throughout the day when I feel sad or anxious about how behind I am on email, business development, and cleaning up my house. (Mama says it’s understandably in a bit of disarray after three years of helping her and Daddy.)

This statement, repeated throughout the book, helps me to stop worrying and do the next right thing… “Breathe in, breathe out—peace is near.”

What helps you?


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