There exists this brief moment upon receiving an experience where a choice is offered. In this space, choosing to take a calm breath can make all the difference.

This aware breath extends time just enough to shift from an emotionally driven reaction to a consciously chosen response.

A deep breath has this remarkable power to provide a pause before reacting while also activating the nervous system responsible for creating calm in the body and mind. When we are calm we are able to make decisions that help not hurt. Our thoughts are rooted in love and our actions stem from kindness.

Being a parent is hard—I don’t believe saying this means I don’t love my children or am not grateful for the blessed opportunity to be a parent. On the contrary, perhaps it means that the colossal care carried can feel heavy at times.

As a mother of two young children I feel this depth of love that is truly difficult to describe. I am discovering that this journey of parenthood is revealing parts of me unseen. I have been opened to limitless love and pushed to my limits of patience. I have felt exhausted, exasperated, eager, and excited, all in one moment.

I am learning that the only way to truly release frustration is to feel it first. To be in it and then release it with the continuously moving change that will fade into the past, as everything does.

I give myself permission to feel upset and with that same awareness offer myself a deep breath. Then, with ease, I consciously mind-shift to goodness, choosing to see the positive and feel the flow of gratitude.

In my desire to intentionally create a peaceful environment it is essential that I parent from a place of calm instead of circumstance-compelled chaos. Through deep listening and forgiving practices, I can connect to my calm center by taking a few aware deep breaths, and then encouraging my children to do the same.

We breathe all day long, most of the time unaware of this miraculous energy sustaining us.

When we pause to take a deep breath, we stop long enough to be fully present in a moment while also filling every cell of our body with new and nourishing air. With each breath we create space to connect, to calm, and to care.

While waiting for my young son to buckle his seatbelt in the morning, I often find myself standing at the door, consciously turning to face the trees to take a calm breath instead of impatiently telling him to “hurry up” while he plays with the buckle and sings a song. I will continue this practice until his buckle song drifts into the past as he matures a little more in the present. (And then I may hear it in my head every time I buckle my seatbelt in the years that follow, and will probably smile.)

It has been an evolving practice to sense the tension rising in my body and receive it as a message to take a deep breath, to lovingly respond and not irritably react. Like every practice, it is not perfect, and sometimes the calm breath doesn’t come quick enough and I have to apologize to my children and myself. And I believe that it is okay for them to know I am not perfect; maybe it will guide them to accept their imperfections too.

I have been witness to the beautiful sight of my children taking a deep breath and encouraging the other to “just take a calm breath” upon moments of frustration. I have felt the joy of holding an irritated child as together we took conscious calm breaths, connecting to one another in a most sacred way. And I have gratefully experienced the bliss of little arms wrapped around me while the words “calm breath mommy” are whispered in my ear.

I encourage my kindred mamas (and papas) to take a calm breath upon reacting on emotion. I lovingly urge you to feel first, create space second, and live last.

Feel the emotion, be humanly annoyed for a moment and then choose to let go, knowing that carrying anger does not support you or your child(ren). We can’t avoid all unsettling circumstances, but we can choose how we hold them.

Take a deep breath with an intention to create calm, and live from this place of calm. Think calm and be calm.Offer yourself a time-out, or rather, a time-in. A simple breath can connect you to your calm center.