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The Power of a Window

Lately I've been nerding out about the transformative power of the elements.


In keeping with that theme, today I am talking about the air element.


The picture above is of sailboats spotted on my recent adventure in Maine.


Sailing harnesses the power of the air element.


So does my Conair hairdryer that I use most mornings in cooler weather (technically it uses both air and fire).

When it comes to meditation, we can use the air element to release and free ourselves from big emotions.


My patients are often dealing with heavy topics during sessions.


In therapy, it's okay to cry.


It's ok to feel tired after a big therapy session.


While generally I do my best to ensure everyone ends session feeling grounded and calm before we say goodbye, sometimes we need a little extra support after sessions end.


Tears are the water element.


We can do beautiful mindfulness with water, but sometimes we need to shift out of the heavy emotions and reconnect with feeling light and free.


This is where the air element comes in.


The internal air element is the breath.


Yet if someone comes to me feeling panicky, often going right to a breathing exercise, like boxed breathing (inhale 4, hold 4, exhale 4, hold 4; repeat 10x) isn't always accessible.


Sometimes breathing practices are super do-able. Sometimes they feel more triggering.


This is where the external air element comes in.


Air energizes and refreshes.


Often I will first encourage my patients to connect with the earth to begin the grounding process. I invite them to notice the places of contact with their body:


The floor, the chair, their clothing against the skin.


Then I guide them to notice the air, the temperature in the air, the places of exposed skin meeting the air.


I will ask them to notice the sounds around them.


Sound is where the earth and water meet the air.


Hearing is tapping into the air element as air carries sound vibrations.


Feeling can also be a way we tap into the air element.


The simple way I will intentionally connect with the air element is by opening a window.


This is a fung shui practice to clear our old, stagnant energy and to allow for the circulation of that which is fresh, new, and alive.


Using an essential oil diffuser or burning incense or Palo Santo or white mountain Sage can also be effective ways to clear out a space and to mentally clear out the gunk of the past and refocus on the present moment.


Years ago in my mid-twenties when I worked a corporate world, en route to a long day working in a window-less room, I would often roll down my windows, even briefly on the expressway, just to feel the cleansing breeze.


It was like a jolt of caffeine.


Below is a practice that can be tried from the comfort of your home or whilst sitting in your car with the windows rolled down:


Greet the air.


Greet the air just like you would greet a friend.


[Take a breath]


Feel the air.


Feel the air within and around your body.


[Take a breath]


Thank the air.


In your own way, express gratitude to the air.


[Take a breath]


Try to repeat this cycle of greeting, feeling, and expressing gratitude for the air for five minutes (or longer, if you're up for it).


Then turn back to feeling your breath.


Did you notice a shift?


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