Your Truest Self Author Janice Lynne Lundy

Inspiration, Relaxation

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Your Truest Self I’m very honored to welcome one of the most peaceful and spiritual people I know to Out of Bounds today. As my regular guests know, Out of Bounds embraces the concept of getting the most out of life by giving it your best – no, no, your very best! That type of mindset is the reason I sign every post with the admonition to “Make each moment count double.”

Reading authors such as Janice Lynne Lundy is one of the very best ways to subscribe to that philosophy. After reading her fascinating article below, please read another of her articles on Self Help Daily.

Just Breathe

Without exaggeration, my breath has saved my life. It has been my anchor through bouts of anxiety, a source of comfort during times of loss, and a conduit to greater understanding of the Divine. Connecting with my breath is the best way I know how to care for myself—body, mind, and spirit. Just breathe.
Breathe. It’s a natural, immediate way to soothe our body, relax our mind, and restore our spirit. Most of us are not aware just how important breathing is to our total well-being. In fact, most of us don’t consciously think about breathing at all. We are so busy rushing here and there that we don’t take a decent breath! We breathe raggedly, gulp down breaths, or hold it altogether as we respond to what is happening around us.

Breathing in this way causes tension to build, accumulating right in the center of our chest—a clear cause of anxiety. Or, it wraps itself around our head, neck, and shoulders, causing discomfort and pain. Breathing in, deeply and evenly, and exhaling just as deeply and evenly, releases physical tension. It releases emotional tension, as well. When we become more intentional about our breath, our whole self will benefit in these important ways:

Physically:
While breathing, our body receives very specific health benefits. Blood is oxygenated, which means healthy, new blood can flow to our brain. This helps us think more clearly. Blood flows to our organs for cell reproduction; to our muscles and ligaments, for strengthening and increased flexibility; to our heart, so pulse and metabolic rates can slow down. By harnessing the power of our breath, our body can release its own innate, healing energy. Breathing is good for what ails us!

Mentally/Emotionally:
Focusing on our breath allows the mind to stabilize from racing thoughts. It facilitates focus when we’re feeling scattered; boosts creativity when we are blocked. Negative thoughts and feelings cause wear and tear on our emotional state. This can manifest in bodily tension, which, in time, may cause significant health issues and dis-ease.

Spiritually:
Conscious breathing allows us to access inner quiet, a center of stillness, our source of inner peace. It provides the perfect opportunity for us to get in touch with the present moment, a potent place where we remember the importance of loving relationships, meaningful work, and the beauty of nature. It also plugs us in to the Sacred. Breathing can become an act of prayer.

Here’s a simple breathing exercise to get you started on a new path to well-being:
Begin by breathing in through your nose, filling your lungs with air from the bottom up. Continue breathing until your abdomen puffs out and feels full. Do this to a slow count of 5. Hold your breath for a few seconds, then, slowly exhale through your mouth, gradually emptying the lungs, then the abdomen to another count of 5. You may want to push out one final puff of air at the end of each round to completely clear the lungs. Repeat this as long as you need to feel a relaxation response. With practice, you may want to extend your inhales and exhales to 8 and 10 counts respectively.

Deep breathing can be practiced anytime, anywhere—while driving or walking, in the shower or tub, at our desk, while watching television, upon rising in the morning, and at night before sleep.

It has been reported that we take 10,000 breaths a day. Why not make these breaths ones that relax, balance, or energize us? Nurturing ourselves with the miraculous gift of our breath is a powerful practice, one that predictably returns us home to our truest self—the peaceful, confident, and joyous person we were meant to be. Just breathe!

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Janice Lynne Lundy’s Bio:

Janice Lynne Lundy is an inspirational speaker, interfaith spiritual director, syndicated magazine columnist, and the author of four self-help/spiritual growth books for women. Her newest book, Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be, has just been released by Sorin Books.

Described by her readers, audiences, and colleagues as “practical and poetic, possessing deep and gentle wisdom,” Janice Lynne Lundy serves as an interfaith spiritual guide to tens of thousands of women throughout the United States through her nationally syndicated magazine column in Women’s LifeStyle, as a professional speaker and retreat facilitator, and as a Spiritual Director. She has been recognized for her sensitive and compelling interviews as well as for her gift for connecting with soul-searching women. Jan is an adjunct staff member for the Institute of Spirituality at the Dominican Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her newest book, Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be, was released in October 2008 by Sorin Books.

Jan is the author of three previously published personal and spiritual growth books: Coming Home to Ourselves: A Woman’s Journey to Wholeness; Awakening the Spirit Within; and Perfect Love: How to Find Yours and Make It Last Forever (co-authored with her husband, Brad Lundy).

The mother of three, stepmother of four, and grandmother of three more, Jan resides on the peaceful shoreline of Grand Traverse Bay in northern Michigan with her husband, Brad, her creative partner and soul’s companion.

Learn more about Jan at her website: www.awakenedliving.com. Register for her newsletter and she’ll send you her new, inspirational 90-page e-book, The Awakened Woman’s Guide to Life.

Visit her blog: www.awakeisgood.blogspot.com. She enjoys hearing from her readers and responds personally. Email: jan@awakenedliving.com.

When I read this article, I couldn’t help thinking about an experience I had about a month ago. I read somewhere that we should take periodic “Checks” of our breathing – to see if we tend to breathe deeply, if our breathing is rapid, etc. I kept catching myself holding my breath! What’s up with that?! So, I’ve become more mindful of taking deep, meaningful breathes. Great article, Janice! You’ve reminded me again of the importance to breathe deeply. As God as my witness I’ll never hold my breath again. (Not out of water, anyway!)

Buy Janice Lynne Lundy’s newest book on Amazon: Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be

Make each breath count double!
~ Joi

11 comments… add one
  • Jodi

    Just Breathe. I think I’m going to paste that above my office desk. We all need to remember to just stop and do that more.

  • Good morning, Joi and guests,
    I’m here today at my desk watching the snow fall, delighted to be chatting with you about how we can be more calm and clear—especially in challenging times. I look forward to connecting with you heart-to-heart!
    Blessings,
    Jan

  • I remember the first time I heard of this concept, I realized that I didn’t take breathes for periods of time. I was astonished. I actually held my breath. No wonder I was living a life of apprenhsion. I must admit I still haven’t learned to focus my breathing and I am better during a time of tension, I’ll remind myself to breath. I’m learning.
    Jo Ann Hernandez
    http://bronzeword.wordpress.com

  • Jo Ann, I feel so much better now that I’ve become more aware of my breathing. Deep breaths clear the mind and, somehow, just make you feel healthier.

  • Jan,
    I have always LOVED the snow and winter. In fact, even when we lived on the beach in Florida a few years back – I honestly missed snow. I’m sure that even this ice storm we just had won’t dampen my love. I keep telling everyone how pretty the ice covered trees look and they look at me like I’m from Jupiter and have three heads!

    Jodi,
    That’s a great idea! Wonderful advice for all of us… JUST BREATHE!

  • Joi and Jo Ann,

    I did not exaggerate when I said that breathing saved my life. It did and still is my touchpoint to the Sacred. I’m glad you noticed that in yourself Jo Ann, that holding your breath was literally choking the “life” out of you.

    Chapter One in my book, “I Am Free to Live a Spiritual Life of My Own Making,” offers a powerful viewpoint (and practice) of the breath. It explains the breath as sacred. Actually being the breath of the Divine moving through us. Enlivening us. Calming us. Bringing us back to my sacred center.

    When I think of the Divine in the form of actual breath, a sacred wind moving through my body, something amazing happens. I’ve even used the phrase, “God is breathing ME,” as a calming mantra. I shared this recently with one of the women I meet with for spiritual direction and she tried it and she said it absolutely changed her life. Did you know that the word “breath” comes for the Latin word, “spiritus,” which means “spirit”? I believe our breath can be our spiritual connection…

    At the end of Chapter One is a Peaceful Pause, a meditative exercise, that helps us access the breath as a sacred gift. It’s really powerful and I hope some of you will try it!

    Here’s to reframing our notion of breath as not just something we do for physical health, but spiritual health as well.

    Blessings to you both! Breathe on…

  • Jodi,
    Oops, pardon my faux pas and mixing your name with Joi’s. I wonder if Mercury is retrograde?! Lots of mixups with names these days, or perhaps some of us are just moving a little too fast. Thanks for visiting. Yes, just breathe, a powerful little quip. It would look good as a bumper sticker and on a refrigerator magnet. 🙂
    Blessings!

  • Sam

    As an asthmatic, I know all too well that every word of this article is true. I recently began a new medication – about 5 months ago. I breathe better than I have all my life. My thoughts are clearer, my memory is better, and I just generally feel better all over.

    My mom’s really happy, too, because I not only feel better, but my grades are better!

    If you have a breathing problem, get the best care possible. Thanks for the article, I understand now why my world seems so different.

    Sam

  • Count on more recomendation from me for this book.

  • Stefan,
    Jan is one of those people who relax you with their every word. Zen pours out of this woman’s pores!

  • Sam, as an asthma suffer my entire life, I’m here to back up your every word!

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