It’s impossible to remain calm all the time. But once you have learned to observe yourself, you can choose to be calm at any moment. Breathing is an important tool. Say you’re somebody who gets angry easily. It may feel as if you can’t control your reaction, but you can – you can learn to observe what happens in your body when you get angry. Does your face feel hot? Are you holding your breath? When you notice physical signs of getting angry, take a breath and pause.

Then you have the space to choose your actions a little more wisely.

  • Feel your body
  • Let your breath take over, give in to it
  • How does your body feel?
    What does it need in this very moment?
    What would be good for it?
    What does it tell you?
  • Be courageous and, at the same time, tender and kind to your body
  • What does your snack taste like today?
  • Observe and be surprised!
  • Remember the last time you were upset. What happened to you? Do you notice any changes in your breathing? Does your heart beat faster? Do your hands get sweaty?
  • Just observe!

If I Had My Life To Live Over

I’d like to make more mistakes next time.
I’d relax, I would limber up. I would be sillier than I had been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I’m one of those people who live sensibly and sanely hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I’ve been one of those persons who never go anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat, and a parachute. If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.

Nadine Stair
85 years old, Louisville, Kentucky

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© April 2016
A Project for Mindfulness by Osterloh & GLOBART