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Pause and Breathe

Pause and Breathe

“Even as fire finds peace in its resting place without fuel, when thoughts become silence the soul finds peace in its own source. When the mind is silent, then it can enter into a world which is far beyond the mind. This is wisdom, and this is liberation.”
–The Upanishads

I have a confession: I get stressed and overwhelmed. It feels unavoidable, yet if I have tools and strategies to help me get through tough times, I feel I can manage the suffering a little better.  Let me give you a glimpse into one such situation.

Sunday Morning

Les and SaraIt is a Sunday morning that began as many Sunday mornings do, wake with no alarm for coffee cozily in bed with Les watching the beautiful colors of the sunrise out the window.  Normally I would bask in the relaxation of this morning.  However, the recent news from my accountant of an unexpected, yet impending tax bill has me feeling like the lazy and relaxing morning was unjustified or irresponsible.

The news put me into survival brain mode and all my self-care practices were pushed to the bottom of the list of priorities and with it went my peace of mind.  Instead of enjoying the morning, I was thinking, “What can I be doing to be more productive?”  “I shouldn’t be wasting my time in bed doing nothing when there is so much to do!

Stress Takes Over

My mind races a mile a minute going through my to do list.  To make matters worse, these thoughts are in conflict with the commitments I have made to myself.  Today I planned to meditate, journal, workout, sit in the sauna, enjoy time with my family, and NOT work!

Overwhelmed by the noisy chatter in my mind fighting for my most valuable resource, my time, I ask Les, “How do people get it all accomplished?”  This is not the first time we have had this conversation before and the answer is always, “They don’t!”  Logically, I know this, yet my old belief of not good enough pushes its way to the surface.  I start judging myself and comparing myself to others.  The laundry is looming, the house needs to be cleaned, the driveway will need to be shoveled, and tomorrow is Monday when the work will pile up.  Thank goodness Les makes our family delicious and nutritious dinner most nights.

Some Inspiration

I let the worry go for a moment to read from Mark Nepo’s “The Book of Awakening.” Like it often is, today’s reading is just what I needed to feed my soul and remind me of my priorities. Here is a few sentences from the reading:

“When gripped by fear of anxiety, the reflex is to hold on, speed up, or remove oneself.  Yet when we feel the reflex to hold on, that is usually the moment we need to let go.  When we feel the urgency to speed up, that is typically the instant we need to slow down.  Often when we feel the impulse to flee, it is the opportunity to face ourselves.”

Pause and Breathe

In this moment as I pause and breathe, I am able to check in with myself.  This morning, when I choose to do this, I recognize that it’s time to let go of the need to do it all and do it well, it’s time to let go of worry.  This pause tells me what I need in order to fill my reserves from their depleted state.

I offer myself grace.  My to do list, and that dang tax bill, will be there tomorrow.  On my workout schedule is plans for my strength training and intervals, a strenuous endeavor for me.  For today, I recognize a gentle movement session is a better fit.  I let go of the attachment of doing what I am “supposed to” and this choice quiets the overwhelm.

As I look out my window and see the snow beginning to fall, I choose to breathe and simply do one thing at a time, one step at a time.  I know everything may not get finished, but if I sit in this state of overwhelm, I let the anxiety win, nothing will get done, AND I will be miserable.

Time to Take Care of Me

Ok, here I go, one thing at a time. First task, I go outside to feed the chickens, I pause and breathe in the cold, fresh air.  At that moment, I smile and recognize my need to be out in nature and let go of the rest for the moment.

I bundle up and go outside to move wheelbarrows full of wood chips.  While the snow is coming down may seem like a strange time to do lawn work, yet it was the perfect medicine for me.  I found myself smiling in pure joy as I worked, knowing that this is just what I needed.  And even better, I gave myself permission to take what I needed.  Screw the laundry!

Additional Resources:

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If you are experiencing an overload of stress, it may show up as symptoms of anxiety, worry, or overwhelm. Our 21 day mini-course to gain freedom from anxiety is for anyone who is ready to make a change and release the grip of anxiety.  This includes a lesson about how the mind works, two hypnosis sections, self-inquiry work, and a powerful hypnosis recording that is yours to keep and listen to for at least 21 consecutive days following your completion of the course.

Start TODAY!  After you commit to taking this step to gain freedom from anxiety, you will be emailed access to the course immediately!

Let us know how we can help.  Please feel to leave a comment with any other suggestions, comments, or questions for the community!

With love and gratitude,

Sara and Les

The Mindful Movement

About the author, Sara

Sara is the founder of The Mindful Movement and the owner of Coreworks Fitness, a Pilates and Yoga studio in MD. Sara is also a Pilates and CoreAligh Master instructor with Balanced Body.

Sara is passionate about helping others grow and live mindful, fulfilled lives. She helps others move better, feel better, live with a deep awareness, gratitude and their whole heart. She strives to inspire others to live authentically and passionately in love and abundance.


  1. Cheryl on 02/03/2021 at 12:55 PM

    Thank you Sarah for sharing your personal experience with dealing with stress minding us all ❤️

  2. Diego Palma on 02/03/2021 at 1:24 PM

    Sara, while you and Les are a beacon of light for many of us, we recognize that you are vulnerable to some of those same feelings of anxiety, etc. which we all feel. It’s comforting to know how you deal with those situations on a personal level. Thanks for sharing that. Keep up the good work!

  3. Hollye Inderrieden on 02/03/2021 at 2:12 PM

    Wow! Your article came just at the moment it was needed. I forced myself to breathe to break the stress cycle and it became easier to breathe and easier to let go of the stress. This makes it clear that even when you have the tools, life and that monkey mind can still overwhelm. Thankful that you have someone in your life that can help balance you when needed. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Anne Arthur on 02/03/2021 at 4:24 PM

    Thank you Sarah for sharing so honestly your own feelings of overwhelm. We can all relate to that at the moment. Love all your meditations and do them regularly. 💗

  5. Joann Snyder-Profeta on 02/03/2021 at 5:34 PM

    Beautiful message ❤️ (Nothing wrong with bringing in a house cleaner 😉)

  6. Alan Ho on 02/03/2021 at 5:57 PM

    Thank you for sharing Sara! It reminds us that everyone has challenges in life. It’s how we choose to deal with it!

  7. Kristin on 02/03/2021 at 6:09 PM

    Thank you for these words! They completely hit the spot for me this morning. So grateful for you guys at the mindful movement!

  8. Bryan Cooley on 02/04/2021 at 3:53 AM

    I appreciate your time and care for others. Thank you for your openness and a glimpse into your daily life. Peace and joy to you and Les (and the cute doggie too).

  9. Dorothy on 02/05/2021 at 10:59 AM

    Yes Sara, thank you for sharing.

    It is good to know we are not alone when life happens and things show up that are against the peace we are are striving to maintain. It is hard to remember it is not happening to us, and we have a choice to release the fear and anxiety it brings? As simple as the breath……but a process to get there. Slowing down reminding ourselves to breath, let go, relax – not so easy…….patience, quiet, breath, ah calmness. Yes.

    Thank you for being part of the process to get me back to my peaceful self and knowing, this to, shall pass.

  10. Rhea Dela Cruz on 02/06/2021 at 6:14 AM

    Thank you for reaching out to us..Your work changes lives in ways you can never imagine 😍😍😍

  11. Natalia on 02/07/2021 at 8:00 PM

    This is perfectly relevant as I’ve been facing similar feelings lately. Thank you for sharing and for the reminder!

  12. Deb Martinz on 02/08/2021 at 4:16 AM

    Thank you Sara and so true. I’ve spent a lot of the last few years in varying states if overwhelm and stress and my “breathing” is often siting by and binge watching which doesn’t really help anything. Have been listening to your “Clear the Clutter” sleep meditation all year ( and it is helping me so much! I am feeling a real shift and finally moving, if with baby steps, back to my routine of self care. I am truly grateful for all help. 💕🙏🏻

  13. Megha S A on 02/16/2021 at 11:54 AM

    Thank you so much Sara 🙂 Your meditations are amazing 💜

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Sara and Les Raymond founded The Mindful Movement in August of 2016. They are passionate about helping others grow and live mindful, fulfilled lives. They have both experienced profound growth and fulfillment in living a mindful lifestyle. Together they help others live a more mindful life, deepening their awareness and sense of gratitude. They strive to inspire others to live authentically with love and abundance.

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