The Best Way to Weather a Transition


Alisa: the chaturanga dandasana toast

The first official day of Winter is December 22nd, but today I went hiking with Blue and my friend Troy, and it softly hailed on us. It was a sure and beautiful sign: Winter is coming.

That means Fall is falling away. I feel like I’m tipping with it, and yet I need to stay on my feet.

Times of transition can be uncomfortable. Unsettling. Vulnerable.

During turbulent times, airline employees have strong advice for us: put on your air mask first. Make sure you can be there, breathing, for yourself, before you think about running to someone else’s rescue.

Do you put your air mask on first?

Air. Breath. The constant. More than water. More than food. More than light.

It is what the heart wants most of all.

This week, my students gave speeches. I constantly reminded them to breathe. I invited them to breathe whenever we had a break in speakers. I said it was so important.

Breathe into your toes. Breathe into your fingertips. Deep belly breaths. I’m corny, and we laughed, but deep down I know how incredibly serious and important this lesson is:


Then, as I was sitting in the back of the classroom during a down moment, one of my students turned to me.

He said, “Are YOU breathing?” His smile was so warm, like my dog’s paw resting on my arm.

I wasn’t.

I began again.

Winter is coming. How are you? Did you put your mask on first?

Are you breathing?

If not, begin again.

It is what the heart wants most of all.


Jenny: scared but breathing at the top of Half Dome

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