CELTIC PRAYER & THE IMPORTANCE OF BREATHING

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The past 24 hours or so, I was reminded again of the importance of simply breathing. The situation that can bring me anxiety, anyone who knows about it can’t blame me for feeling trepidation over. (Not to sound mysterious, but I can’t go into it here.) Inhale…exhale…deep inhale…deep exhale. Still, one would think it would come so naturally—to breathe. After all, we’ve been doing it since we were born. Yet in times when things appear possibly dangerous or frightening, we can easily forget to do the most basic thing of our lives: draw air into our lungs.

When we’re anxious or troubled, it’s like we have to remind ourselves to breathe. I’ve found though that while drawing deep breaths is good, drawing deep breaths while meditating on a short phrase about God is better.

Being that it’s St. Patrick’s Day, it seems a good time to mention how powerful and calming many Celtic prayers are simply because of their simplicity and the fact that they mention such seemingly “ordinary” things, such as wind, fire, water…air. All those things seem ordinary enough until we are suddenly without them. Being without breath due to fear or panic can be like suffocating on our own thoughts.

Granted, I don’t have this all the time, but I do at times have it when it comes to extreme circumstances (which the current thing would fall into the category of at certain times).

So here is a prayer that might help you should you ever find yourself in a time of needing to remember to breathe. If you never have a moment like this, then we’re all very happy for you. This is for the rest of us.

This is from the Breastplate of St. Patrick:

“I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who desires me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a multitude.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation”

I hope this helps you, calms you, give you peace in times of distress and most of all, hope in God’s divine presence holding you and helping you.

For more ideas of wonderful short phrases you can repeat, that are easier to meditate on with your eyes closed, have a look at this link.

The beautiful calligraphy is courtesy of my dear and gifted friend, Karen Ables, who gave this to me as a gift. It is one of my great treasures. Please only use with permission.

Wishing you much peace, protection & strength this St. Patrick’s Day.

Monique

** To schedule a free 30-minute discovery coaching call with me, just click this link.

 

 

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MORE WORDS ON SELF-CARE

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My last post on self-care a few months ago brought up some apparent concerns and questions from people, so it seemed a good idea to post a continuation of this topic.

I was asked where is the place to draw the line between when it is appropriate to take care of yourself and when to put yourself aside for the sake of others, especially when wanting to live out a life of love and self-giving. Admittedly, the topic isn’t always cut and dry. There are circumstances that come up that make it difficult to draw the line. For example, when someone you love is suffering mentally or physically and needs extra care or attention from you. Or when you’re the only one available to run the kids to their classes or activities. There are responsibilities and duties, yes, and sometimes you can’t just say, “Oh, you need to get to class and Dad’s not here to drive you? Well, sorry, I’m having a time-out right now, so you’ll need to find a ride.”

What we’re talking about here is balance in life, not a life where no one can ever impose on your time. Self-care isn’t just about time to yourself. It’s about putting yourself into the picture of people you care about. It’s doing things that keep you balanced so that you have more, not less, of yourself to give, and that the you that you are giving is coming from a place of joyful giving rather than resentful giving that leaves you sputtering under your breath in frustration and anger.

One of the most important steps in caring for yourself is setting healthy boundaries. This requires some self-reflection and self-awareness as well as a willingness to feel uncomfortable. If you don’t set healthy boundaries, you may find yourself resenting the people who you feel are trying to control you, and eventually you may find that you’re resenting yourself for not having the hutzpah to stand up to them.

How do you set healthy boundaries? Well, the first place to set them is with yourself. Admit that you have a problem with saying “no.” You can read my previous post on saying “no” here: https://artoflifeandwellness.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/no-is-not-a-four-letter-word/

You may be asking, “Okay, I get what it is, but how do I do it?” And my question to you is, “What can you begin doing today to nurture yourself the way you would a good friend?” Sometimes stepping outside of ourselves and imagining seeing someone we love in the same position helps us to realize what we need. It almost sounds too simple.

Begin small. How much time can you take out for yourself each day? Ten minutes? Thirty? Just five? Then start with five.

What kind of ritual can you set up for yourself? Where will you have this ritual? It doesn’t need to be the same place each day, but it can be. Some people need the consistency of a certain place or space. Some prefer variety. It’s up to you. You get to choose!

When will you take this time? Do you need it first thing in your day to get focused and centered and grounded? Or do you need it at the end of the day? Or both?

How will you make sure you take this time for yourself? Do you need to arrange it beforehand? Is it just an inner decision you need to make?

The main thing is: what can you do to care for yourself in such a way that, even when you can’t get out of certain duties you have, you are taking care of your own needs too so that you have the energy and the love fueling you to live from a place of groundedness.

No matter how it might appear, you always have choices.

I look forward to hearing from you of the steps you’ve taken and the results you’ve seen in your life. As always, if you need some help, just send me a message.

Wishing you peace and blessings,

Monique

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* Paintings by Maxfield Parrish