I crack the side door open and Dash the border collie sidewinders his way between my legs and the wall to rush outside ready to go for a run with me. Stepping out, the first thing I am hit with is the piercing sharp bitterness of the air. The kind that makes you take a sharp inhale because it is a shock to the body. As the air swirls through your nose and mouth catching at the back of your throat, warming slightly before making its way down and filling your lungs from bottom to top, it’s the first time for the day, that I am aware of my breath.

     Of all the systems in our body, the only one that we truly have control over is our breath. We can’t control how fast our blood circulates throughout our body, how deeply we feel sensations that we touch, or that everything will smell like roses. We can however, control how fast or slow, how deeply or shallow, or how mindfully we breath.

     In our breath, we can control our state. Are we focused on the here and now, the present moment, or are we still thinking about the words that we said the other night, knowing that we can’t change the past, but we keep thinking didn’t come out the way we think they should have? Are we focused on the here and now, the present moment, or are we thinking about things that we have to do and our need to control the outcomes when in reality, we have no control over the future?

     A new year is fraught with boundless opportunities. For within each one of us the ability to create a new canvas, a new path. It is easy with all of this excitement, to lose our breath. To be consumed with so much energy, that it is like catching that first breath stepping out into the bitter cold. Stopping, pausing, inhaling deeply, noticing our breath.

      Daily, our practice should be to do more of that. Stopping, pausing, inhaling deeply, noticing our breath. On our way to create our own greatness and to be of service to others, our greatest ally, it to BREATHE.