I am committed to a socially just practice that is accessible, inclusive and equitable to all.

Peace is just a few breaths away.

Much has been said lately about mindfulness, meditation, and presence, and if you are anything like I have been for most of my life, you are confused. 

I once had a roommate who set her alarm so she could wake up early and meditate. WTF. Not a chance. I’ll sleep, thank you. 

Twelve step recovery programs tell us to take “quiet time” daily. For me, quiet time is synonymous with sleep or an opportunity to overthink. I never saw the impact that so many were fawning over. 

Over the last 30 years, I’ve amassed a distinguished record of failed attempts at meditating by way of studying meditation, buying apps, doing 30 day challenges, taking action on it, reading as much as I could, listening to podcasts, and whatever else came my way. I finally chalked it up to a biological incapability to quiet my mind. 

Yes, that’s all I wanted. A quiet mind where the list of things to do wasn’t flowing freely and often causing panic about what wasn’t getting done or what opportunity I might be missing or what great idea wasn’t going to come to fruition.

I remember coming home from an early morning meeting one Saturday and finding my husband asleep. It was 8:30 am. I immediately reacted to the fact that he didn’t have time to sleep because there were curtains to be hung and a lawn to mow. I’m so grateful that he didn’t divorce me right then and there. If it was up to me, sleep would have been naturally selected out of me. 

So fast forward to 2018, four kids later, when I was introduced to a spiritual mentor who simply said this: get comfortable, breathe, and observe without judgement. 

That’s it. 

What I loved about this is that she added, “don’t change the way you breathe, just breathe.” You mean I don’t have to count to 8 at every inhale and count to 9 at every exhale? 

And if a thought comes into my mind, let alone whole conversations with people against whom I hold resentments or need to speak with about any number of things, just notice it without judgement and refocus on the breath? 


Over time, I learned that when I’m focusing on the breath, I have no thoughts, other than the up and down of my belly or chest. As I did it more, I noticed other sensations in my body; I noticed what was painful or where I felt the bottoms of my feet in my socks and my socks on the ground. I felt my butt in the chair, usually sinking into the chair in my office, and the tightness of my forehead or my neck or my shoulders. 

This time gave me the opportunity to shift and to stretch and to crack the bones or shift my muscles. Or maybe I just sat with the awareness and changed nothing. 

Sometimes, I even imagine myself connected to the earth or the sky and whatever else is beyond that. 

Generally, I keep it simple and just breathe. 

When I started thinking about this 30 years ago, I had no idea what I was longing for other than a chance to give my brain a break. It needed to rest.

Having practiced this way consistently for almost a year now, I notice the impact outside of those moments of quiet. Over time I have seen that when someone pisses me off, I feel a nudge in my body – usually in my back – and it is like an early warning signal to the rest of me. 

It reminds me to check in and and ask myself a question. 

Sometimes, it’s “What is true for me now?” This question allows me pause.

It allows me to notice when I’m about to lose my marbles and reminds me to put space between my feelings, thoughts and reactions. Checking in always tells me that my reaction is not about the other person despite how hard I’m trying to make it about them. More than anything, it helps me to be clear on what is actually happening without layering all kinds of noise in the form of beliefs, projections, and memories over the actual truth. 

Almost always, I feel something: usually sadness or fear. Maybe the sadness is about fear. Or loss. Which is also about fear. It’s all about fear. 

Tara Brach says something like “an emotion felt all the way through lasts about 90 seconds.” I have also heard that anger not reacted to lasts about 8 minutes. 

Reacting to the anger is a way of resisting the actual somatic experience of anger. Instead, the anger gets stuck in the body for days, months, or years.

More accurately, it’s our resistance that lasts for days, months, or years. 

When practicing this breathing, or presence as I refer to it, for a few minutes a day, I yell less, I listen more, and I relax into my skin in a different way. So, analysis and learning aside, that’s all I really need to know. 

More often than I’d like to admit, my outside observer says, “What the heck are you doing? Stop making everyone cray cray and just feel what you feel!”

My fears about whether or not things will ever get done if I spend 5 minutes a day practicing this presence are assuaged by the fact that I am happier, calmer, and have pause. I’m more curious and less convicted. I’m more empathic and less a victim. My kids haven’t told me that I have no chill in at least a couple of months. 

So what is this? Meditation? Mindfulness? Presence? Who cares? I refer to it as my presence practice because it takes me out of the future, away from the past, and gives me the moment I’m in and then the next moment and the next one and the next one. 

I am grateful to have a work life that allows me to practice this with my clients because it is good for  both of us. It allows me to release the heavy energy that I carry with me and show up fully; 100% of my attention and focus is with them and what they have brought to the session. 

I am a better coach because of it. Teenagers love it. Executives love it. My college-aged clients really love it. I never would have understood it at that age. I really didn’t and I tried so hard. 

Resisting the fact that I had a quiet mind is actually what perpetuated the busy mind. The occupied mind. The frenetic mind. 

Coming out of the present and into the future is what causes my distress. 

I wonder what you’ll notice when you try it. I’d love to hear. 

I can share some resources from others who practice. I’ll add a recording to my facebook page so you, too, can experience it. I am not great at it outside of doing it with another person, but that’s ok for now. I don’t suck. I am not a failure. 

I am just a girl on a journey to increase the positivity in the energetic field that I take with me wherever I go, one breath at a time. 

Christina Granahan

Christina Granahan

Enneagram-informed coach + therapist

I teach you how to use your Enneagram type to realize the relationships and success that you’ve been chasing at work, home, or school. Let's connect and see how I can help you.

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