Hello my lovelies,

I recently attended a phenomenal talk by horse-whisperer and life coach Koelle Simpson. During her talk Simpson proposed that we can literally create our own reality by choosing what we give our attention to, by choosing the thoughts that we think, and by choosing where we spend our time and energy. I fell in love with this concept! Whatever you focus on becomes what your life is about, for better or worse.

“There is no way you can use the word ‘reality’ without quotation marks around it.” – Joseph Campbell

For most of us, our habit is to focus on what isn’t working in our lives. The problem with that is when you are overly focused on, say, how much you hate your job, your reality becomes all about that job you hate. Ick!

Rather live a different reality? Then get ready to change your life by changing your brain with some real-time, DIY neurosurgery. Put the drill down! This is the gore-free, internal kinda brain surgery.

I call it The 10 Breaths Challenge and I first read about it from Rabbi Rami Shapiro, author of Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent. It is a revolutionary practice in conscious gratitude that involves mindfully giving your attention to what brings you joy/peace/happiness.

I know…radical concept, right?!

Here’s how it works:

Step One: Notice

The 10 breaths practice is all about awareness. So your first step to notice the good stuff in your life and in the world around you. Pay attention to when you are happy and what makes you happy. If you are not sure where to start, put your focus on your physical environment. Notice that deliciously soft feeling of your sheets when you roll over Saturday morning, knowing you get to stay there as long as you want. Notice the fresh smell of damp earth coming through the window. Notice the sound of the rain on your window. Notice the decadence of eating a warm slice of freshly baked bread slathered in butter. Notice the beautifully alien look of a flower, when you really stop to look at it. But it doesn’t have to be just physical happiness. It can be anything from the raucous joy of a boisterous family dinner to the quiet peace of reading alone with a cup of tea beside you. Just start to notice what’s good in your life.

Step Two: Pause

Once you’ve got something good to focus on, then pause for a second to acknowledge it. The pause will anchor your awareness of that positive thing.

Step Three: Breathe

Now here is the radical part. Stop whatever you are doing in that moment and hold that good thing in your attention, then take 10 slow, deep breaths. While you breathe, continue to focus on that feeling, that experience, that sound, that taste, that emotional state. Hold that feeling of the sun on your face and just breathe it in. Hold it with a sense of gratitude. Invite that feeling into your life. Ask it to stick around.

Step Four: Practice

Repeat. Sounds simple right? Take 10 breaths whenever you find something you are grateful for? No problem! Okay, try taking 10 conscious breaths right now. It takes about 30 seconds. I’ll wait…

This is the reason I call this the 10 breath challenge. When you start putting this idea into practice you quickly realize just how fast your mind wants to move on to other things; on to what’s for dinner, on to your to-do list, on to the next hurdle. But the breath is where the magic happens!

Force yourself to pause and take those 10 breaths for a sunset. Take those 10 breaths to feel at home in your spouse’s arms. Not only do you deserve those 10 breaths of joy, but over time, with repetition, those 10 breaths will create a bookmark in your brain for those feelings of joy/peace/love/gratitude/happiness. And just like a real bookmark, your brain will be able to find those feelings more and more easily. You’ll begin to see more and more things that you could pause and breathe for. By consciously giving a small amount of your time and attention to things that make you happy you form a happiness habit.

You are training your brain to be happier! How cool is that?!

You can create your own reality by actively choosing what you give your attention to. That’s it! And you can do it in just 10 breaths. Radical.

I’d love to hear how this practice goes for you; send me an email or leave me a comment below. What things have you found to be grateful for? Any surprises? What challenges did you face? How has this practice impacted your life? What changes have you noticed?

And just so you know, I am grateful for all of you. Mwah!