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Breathing in the Moment 

Every morning I walk my dog through a small forest, which weaves its way along Eramosa River. It’s autumn where I live and many of the trees have shed their leaves. This morning, I was in awe of the forest floor covered in hues of gold, red, orange, and brown. 

The earth felt soft beneath my feet. I could see my breath as it hung in the air momentarily before dissipating into nothingness. I took a moment to stop and close my eyes.

I wanted to experience the forest through my body. 

I could feel the wind plant cool kisses on my cheeks as it passed by. I could hear the tinkle of freezing rain as it cascaded down from the sky above, landing on wood, dirt, and leaf.

I was grounded in place and completely present in the moment. 

I breathed in deeply. I felt gratitude for the gift of oxygen from the trees to fill my lungs. With every breath, I could feel the flurried energy of the week release. I felt less exhausted and more awake. I wished I could stand in that place for hours. 

After a few minutes, I allowed my eyes to open and walked home.

The past few weeks have been tough on my body. I’ve been working around the clock to run Embodied Learnings and teach my university courses online. It’s a pace that I can handle for a short term, but it takes a toll. Sleep deprivation rarely ends well. Nor does sitting in front of a computer bent over a keyboard for hours. 

What I know for sure is that I’m not alone. 

Many of my students and colleagues are feeling the impact of long days, computer fatigue, and sleepless nights. Work in the time of Covid has been draining to say the least. Not to mention the emotional toll many of us feel due to the state of affairs in our local, national, and global communities. 

This morning, as I stood in the centre of the forest with my eyes closed, I was reminded of the need to be still. Taking pause in my day was grounding and positive. It felt invigorating! 

I was reminded that there will always be things to do. Checklists never seem to end. I was also reminded that my well-being matters. I cannot be at my best if I don’t take good care of myself. 

Sometimes it feels as if there’s not enough time to stop and rest. Yet, when we recharge and rebalance, we have much more to give. 

On my walk home from the forest I decided to let go of my day’s “to do” list and make myself a priority. I’m so glad I did. 

Traci L. Scheepstra, Ph.D., is the CEO/Founder of Embodied Learnings. Want to know more about her work in education? Read here!

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