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Marlise Karlin Headshot

If A 10 Year Old Can Do It, So Can You

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Reboot in a Breath

It seems to be a common denominator these days. Everyone has stress, from the very young to the very old. Learning how to release stress in our lives is important for many reasons, one being, how we treat people when we're stressed. What do we have to offer others when we are feeling angry, sad, or fearful?

What I'm speaking of is the quality of our lives -- others -- as well as our own. How do we communicate? How do we interact with people when we are unhappy, resentful or overwhelmed? And how do you feel in each moment if this is going on -- headachy, upset stomach, back and neck pain, exhausted, depressed, etc? If you agree with what science tells us today, that we get what we send out, then it's easy to understand why stress and anxiety is growing. When all we hear in the news is about illnesses floating around, economic challenges and planetary catastrophes, it's a wonder we ever feel happy. What can we possibly do to refocus our minds on what we truly value and want our lives to be about?

Katie was ten, angry, sad and deeply troubled over her father's death from cancer. "How could he leave me?" was one among many self-defeating thoughts that were running through her mind, creating her life at school to be a living nightmare. It was hard for her to study, and she isolated herself as much as possible from kids who didn't understand what she was going through.

2009-11-24-katie_pic.jpg

Her mom asked me if I would teach her the Three Breath Awareness Practice which allows you to connect with the Stillness inside. Within minutes of the first time she tried it, there was a calm that came over her. Katie knew instantly that she would use it to help her keep her own focus.

What Katie didn't count on, was how much of her stress would also be released. Imagine a moment in your own life when you felt a sense of tranquility, of the calm that you can experience when looking out at smooth, still, glassy water in a pond. Imagine having that sensation, the tranquility of Stillness, move through your mind and body in such a way, the chaos that surrounds you begins to subside. This was Katie's experience and it didn't end there.

Six months later I interviewed Katie because I'd heard that her life had changed in the most wonderful way -- she was now bringing that energy of Stillness to many of the people she interacts with daily. This child with a new strength shining through her charmingly oversized glasses, told me how she looks for other kids now who are having a hard time and how she helps them find the happy times again, just like what happened for her (see video):

People want to make a difference in the world, they want their lives to matter, but when 'bad things happen' it's difficult. How can you send out happiness if you aren't feeling it? If it's simple enough for ten year olds to incorporate into their lives, it just might be something to pursue for too.

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