Meditation • Instantly Finding Your Calm

Running through airports week upon week, inevitably you have one of those days where it knocks the energetic wind out of you. Your flight is delayed. There’s one too many crying babies on your plane. You were up long before the sun, and now you’re running on empty. And even though you take precautions so that you won’t end up feeling like this, it happens.

So how do you quickly rebound from it?

I’ve recently been reminded of one of my favorite ways. I first read about the technique in Donna Eden’s book Energy Medicine [link]. That was years ago. But the things that need to find you have a way of popping up in your life to rekindle their relevance. Sitting on the plane scrolling through articles I had saved, I read back to back posts about the power of placing your hand over your heart, breathing deeply, and focusing on positive words — the first from the Tao of Dana and the second from Colette Baron Reid.

This was a little nudge as if to say, “Remember that conversation you had about this last week? Yeah. Listen.” That discussion was with Joan D’Argo, an incredible energy worker, who suggested tapping or massaging the center of my breastbone as a way to decrease anxiety and return to a place of calm.

Here’s my take on how to instantly find your calm amidst chaos.

A Moment to Sit —
Find a spot to sit. I often pop down by the gate in one of the rows of chairs and draw my legs up to me to sit cross legged, unless I’m wearing a skirt — then I keep both feet on the floor.

Take a deep breath and exhale slowly.

As you do so, bring into your mind a word or image that epitomizes how you would like to feel in this moment. Often this is the opposite of your current feeling. For me the word is often calm as I’m feeling frazzled and scattered or an image of sitting on the shoreline of Lake Michigan watching a sunset.

Gently place your hand over your heart. Continue breathing deeply and slowly exhaling. Feel your hand and your chest rise and fall as your nervous system relaxes. Sometimes you’ll feel the shift in your body happen almost instantly. Some days it might take a bit longer. I know I’ve relaxed when breathing deeply feels natural again and my shoulders have relaxed and are no longer reaching for my ears. It’s a bit different for everyone. Trust your body to tell you.

When you feel a renewed sense of calm, take a final deep breath deeper and slower than those that have come before and release it as slowly as possible. Squeeze every last bit of air out of your lungs. Pause and embrace the feeling of constriction. Breathe in a quick and vibrant breath and as you’re doing so open your eyes. Know that you’re ready to handle whatever the day throws at you.

When On the Go —
When scooting through the airport, there’s not always the luxury to sit down when things feel frenetic. If that’s the case, there’s still a version of this practice you can use. Place your hand over your heart, begin to breath deeply and continuously, and keep heading to your destination. Keep your eyes open this time. You don’t want to topple over at the end of the moving walkway. As you’re walking, use each step to deepen your breathing. If it helps, time your inhales and exhales with each step.

I have a hard time holding a word while on the move so in this version I skip that part. If you are able, hold a word or an image in your thoughts that describes how you would like to feel the way you would if you were sitting in place.

As you approach your destination, take a prolonged deep breath, relax your shoulder, open your chest, and know you are ready for what lies ahead.

This practice is for more than just airports. You can spot me doing this walking through bustling streets of a big city (that’s you New York) or while riding the subway. Find Ikea overwhelming? Give this a try. A bigger crowd at the concert than you anticipated? This works there too.

Ideas are best when shared. What keeps you going in your hectic airport moments? Share your tips so that we can all move through life, and airports, with a bit more ease.