As published in Yoga Magazine
Aug/Sept 2011

Keeping Calm

— by Jonathan Pofsky, MFT, CMT

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”
— Author unknown

It’s not one of your finest moments. Your belly is tied in knots, competing for your attention with the palpitations of your racing heart. Moist pockets of sweat emerge in familiar places as your jaw clamps down and locks into place. Your breath tightens as thoughts scamper from one worry to the next. The insidious fear of losing control slithers into your every movement. You have reached your edge, perhaps as a result of some external event or strong emotion that is threatening your sense of safety and security. You may do something you will soon regret. Or already have.

… And then you remember you have the choice to stay calm, even in the face of incredible adversity and fear’s mighty grasp. Your breath softens and expands as you feel your feet touch the Earth. Muscles relax and ease the sense of being in your body. As you witness this shift, you begin to understand that what happened was a temporary event in your consciousness, a tidal wave of thought, emotion, and sensation. You have returned to the calmness within that is our natural state. Observing a parent soothe a baby so clearly reflects this organic cycle of agitation and peacefulness. As we get older, we are forced to develop our own capacities to self soothe. The inability to do so effectively distances us from this natural state of being within. This leaves our central nervous system consistently agitated, thereby depleting the efficacy of all the body’s interlocking systems. Our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health are all critically dependent on our ability to return to the peace within.

So as we mature in life, it becomes evident just how important it is to keep calm in the turbulent waters of life. Thich Nhat Hanh depicts this so elegantly as he reflects, “When the crowded refugee boats met with storms or pirates, if everyone panicked, all would be lost. But if even one person on the boat remained calm and centered, it was enough. They showed the way for everyone to survive.” Cultivating calm is a skill like any other, but one not always taught

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Published Articles

Befriending Stress
    - Yoga Magazine

Keeping Calm
    - Yoga Magazine

Favorite Books Lists

A list of some favorite books related to helping with stress and anxiety.

Books on Stress & Anxiety
Books on Depression
Books on Stress & Mindfulness

Poetry by Jonathan Pofsky

As we arrive more fully into ourselves, a truth emerges. This truth defies censorship, judgment, and reason.

Jonathan’s Book

These words are my truth, the result of a commitment to deep listening and trust in life below the surface of things.

Helpful Links

Links to resources for help with stress and anxiety.