Hello Spiritual Warrior! Come on a beach trip with me & Peaches the Buddha Princess and take a look at our favorite morning routine!
This week we are exploring the power of a pattern interrupt. When we are feeling turbulent, stressed at work, overwhelmed by the news, or feeling exhausted from the constant swirl of life, that’s a sign that we might need a break… also known as a pattern interrupt.
When I am feeling overwhelmed or stressed, I love to start my mornings at the beach with Peaches. She likes to chase the birds, and I love to watch her sprint across the sand and skip back to me. We travel at the crack of dawn to the secret beach, with the first light of the day, so we have the entire strip of sand to ourselves to play, contemplate, meditate, and gaze at the horizon. It’s a beautiful way to start the day. And if you have ever been to one of my retreats in Carlsbad, CA, you know that we start all of our mornings on the sand, meditating, doing yoga, and gazing at the ocean. It is the perfect setting to practice one of my favorite pattern interrupts.
Of all the pattern-interrupting techniques that I’ve shared throughout the world, the one with the most powerful effect in the shortest amount of time is perhaps the simplest one. It’s a game changer, and I call it “16 seconds.”
Let’s try it right now. It’s okay to keep reading as you go through this exercise with me:
Think of something that has irritated or bothered you in the past few days . . . a difficult conversation, a disappointment, an unmet expectation. Perhaps someone said they would do something and they didn’t, or they said they would meet you at a certain time and they were late, or they unexpectedly shared something about you with another person and it got back to you. (Don’t go too deep. This isn’t therapy.) But right now, feel free to envision that other person’s face . . . maybe replay the moment in your mind’s eye, even notice someplace in your body that feels connected to the irritation. Take a few moments to settle into that space.
Now take a long, slow, deep breath in through your nostrils, and as you do . . . slowly count to four, and observe the air as it moves into your nostrils and to the back of your throat. Watch your breath as it moves down your chest and deep into your lungs. Feel your belly expand.
Observe your belly being filled, and hold that breath in to the count of four. And just witness the breath in your belly as you silently count. One, two, three, four.
Now slowly, to the count of four, release your breath and watch it as it moves up into your chest, into your throat, into your sinuses, and out through your nostrils.
And when the last wisp of air is out of you, hold that breath out to the count of four. And observe it, watch it, witness it . . . as it dissipates into the air.
Now breathe normally, and let’s try it with your eyes closed. Remember: in four—hold four—out four—hold four. And make sure you follow your breath. Observing it along the way is key to the process. (I’ll wait right here . . . it’s only 16 seconds.)
I’m guessing you’re back right now, eyes open and breathing normally. Well, our whole experience was 32 seconds: 16 seconds with your eyes open and 16 seconds with your eyes closed. And in that half a minute while you were observing your breath (assuming you were playing along), you were totally present. You were not thinking about the past or any of its grievances or regrets, nor moving into the future with all its predictions and projections. You were not thinking about your irritation. You were totally in the present moment. Your mind is a little calmer; your heartbeat has slowed a bit. You’ve filled your body with heavily oxygenated blood and nourishing hormones, and in the process, you’ve released a little bit of stress.
Just the thought of an irritating situation or person triggered a memory of the stressful circumstances, and in 16 seconds you returned to the present moment. Then in the 17th second, you’re clearer—beyond the moment of emotion. You are a bit calmer . . . a bit lighter . . . a bit easier.
Even Peaches the Buddha Princess Knows How to Pattern Interrupt!
The leading current theory on dog yawning, according to Dr. Benjamin Hart, a veterinarian and behaviorist at the University of California, Davis, is basically that “yawning cools the brain.” According to Hart, during periods of inactivity, the circulation in the brain slows down and the temperature of the brain comes up.
Yawning is ostensibly believed to cool the arterial blood and thus cool the brain, allowing it to function better.
Behaviorists contend that dogs yawn as a way to neutralize a situation or calm themselves when they feel stressed. When Peaches – the Buddha Princess yawns, (other than when she first wakes up), it’s often because she’s anxious or is experiencing some sort of uncertainty. In group settings like visiting the dog park or at dog obedience classes, there’s plenty of yawning going on. These dogs know something should and could be happening, but aren’t sure when it will start. So they will subconsciously yawn to calm themselves down!!
So when you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, angry, or even scared, try 16 seconds. It is quick, easy, and you can do it anywhere, anytime. You do not have to be a pro meditator to use this technique everywhere you go. And the next time you notice your dog yawning, you know that they just did their own version of 16 seconds!
So, if you have the means to take a beach (or lake, or forest, or mountain, or prairie) trip with your dog first thing in the morning, take that trip. It is the perfect setting to practice a pattern interrupt, release your tension, meditate, awaken, and prepare to take on the day as your highest version. You can do this. Keep trusting.
In the meantime, remember to like, subscribe, and share to keep your ripple flowing in our community!!! Sending you peace, love and health. Be well.
Namaste. -davidji & Peaches the Buddha Princess