There’s a moment at the end of the exhale, before you begin to take in more air, where you are neither inhaling nor exhaling. It is the moment of small death, the closure of a cycle, the completion of the breath.
Life’s fullness and busyness can take over, sweeping us into the inhale, the next moment, the next thing to do before we’ve even acknowledged the completion of something. It is often our beliefs or self-perceptions, that niggle in the background, that compel us forward and can keep us from ever experiencing satisfaction with the fruits of our labour.
This week’s practice brings awareness and pause, appreciation and acknowledgement to what’s been done, on behalf of experiencing a deeper satisfaction with where we actually are in the moment.
The Practice: Aim to do this a few times per day. When you’ve completed a task, no matter how simple (in fact, the simpler and ‘every-day’ the task, the better,) stop for a moment and look at what was completed. Say either out loud or in your head, “I did that, that is done.” and then take a long, slow, congratulatory breath. As you exhale, feel the last of the energy that you gave to this task exiting your body and as you reach the bottom of the exhale, pause for a moment before inhaling, really feeling the satisfaction of your completion. Feel done.
This is really about practicing the acknowledgement of completion, this is NOT about trying to get more done or get leverage on yourself to get more done. Watch out for the impulse to only do this practice with tasks that are big or hard or ‘deserving of acknowledgement’. The whole point is to experience deeper satisfaction with now, to appreciate all that you’re doing throughout the day and to quiet the compulsion towards ‘more, more, more’. Here are some examples of places you can practice with this:
- After making your bed: Look at that made bed, take it in.
- After finishing your breakfast: Look at your empty plate, feel nourished.
- The moment you turn the water off in the shower, before drying off.
- After sending that email, making that phone call, or liking someone’s FB page.
- After you’ve completed your meditation practice.
- Post work out, errand, dropping the kids at school.
- When you’ve finished the thing you LOVE or that which you’ve been PUTTING OFF.
You get the idea.
If you’re a journaling type (which I highly recommend,) here are some reflective questions to increase your awareness and deepen the impact of this practice..
- What do I believe I will feel or experience once everything is complete?
- When I move from one thing to the next without pause, what is my intended outcome?
- What helps me to cultivate this experience moment to moment, even when there’s more to do?
- What shifts do I notice in my experience when I pause and acknowledge small completions?
- How do these shifts in my experience impact my self-perception or my beliefs about who I am or how the world is?
May this practice serve and nourish you.