Urban Dictionary
One way to think of zen is this: a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind. Zen is a way of being. It also is a state of mind. Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without distortion created by your own thoughts.
“Sun is warm, grass is green.”
by justanotherperson July 27, 2005

Unless you’ve been living on an ice floe in the Arctic, without Wi-Fi, you are aware that the world underwent a significant shift this week. I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to term that shift a sea change.

That is not the topic of this blog.

This post is not only for Americans who’ve gone through a long period of stress that came to a climax on Tuesday and Wednesday, this is also for all of our friends from all over the world who follow our blog and are also affected by the decisions that were reached here. No matter where each of us stands on issues that affect us personally, as a nation and as a planet, we are in this together.

Many of you know – because this is Thursday – this is one of my days of the week to spend an hour with my trainer. So, yeah, I’m sitting here blogging in my activeweah. Today’s session was restorative in a thousand ways, but we started with breathing exercises. We rolled into a little yoga with a sun salutation. And then, of course, we got to the torture. But let’s get back to the breathing bit.


Throughout our lives, we all need to find a state of calm from time to time. Whether the pressures and stresses we are experiencing are the day-to-day variety of school, work, families and communities, or whether we are experiencing an event on the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory, we have to have ways to cope, to reach or regain equilibrium. In some dire instances, to survive.


In the past three years, I have been practicing breathing techniques1 – at first to address the helpless grief of losing My Darling Husband that stole my breath, later to help relieve anxiety and insomnia. I’m not totally effective with it, and I’m lousy at meditation because my mind will just not quit running on its hamster wheel, but while I’m concentrating on controlling my breath and imagining it originating from different parts of my body, I’m distracted and have been able, on occasion, to find those calm oases in the midst of emotional turmoil that I long for.

I’m practicing today. It helps.

Fergus has no trouble finding his Zen

Fergus has no trouble finding his Zen state

What do you do to reach your inner calm? Do you listen to soothing music? Are you one of those impressive creatures who can meditate? If this is too personal, forgive me, do you pray?

1As in everything else in the world, there’s an app for that. Probably hundreds, but here’s the one I use. In with the good, out with the bad.

There's an expanded version you can buy, but you might give this a try first.

There’s an expanded version you can buy, but you might give this a try first.