It seems so simple, doesn’t it? How many times have you heard, “Just take a breath!” From one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s books (either Anger or Creating True Peace), we gleaned the idea of ‘A Breathing Room’ or ‘A Breathing Space.’ We incorporated this into our home and life: dedicated spaces with a mindfulness bell that anybody can ring at any time, encouraging everybody in the house to pause. Every time the bell rings, we meet in the Breathing Space. We all take three deep, slow breaths.

Tension often dissolves instantly. We remember ourselves, our love for each other, and our commitment to cooperating. With this simple ‘Return to Awareness’ we discharge the negative energy of any situation. Sometimes this practice alone resolves budding discord.


If somebody’s cooking a meal and another household member rings the bell, the one cooking turns off the burners, and moves to the Breathing Space. This may seem completely inconvenient, impossible even. “Who’s going to cook dinner!” Trust. Try it and see what happens.

At first you may experience concern about allowing your child to halt all progress in the home by ringing a BELL. (At times, we admit, this does seem to add one more strain to already taxed nerves. You may call it “stupid!” – or even worse, go ahead, insert your profanity here: “_______ BELL!”) You may fear giving away your parental control. Trust the process! The novelty will eventually wear off. In the end, you empower your children (& yourself) to pause, to acknowledge disharmony, while together you create true peace.

Interruptions, after all, are part of the practice (of being human as well as of parenting!) Letting go of our well-laid plans, our expectations, our desire to be in control all the time: all part of the practice.

Each of us holds deep wisdom, no matter our age. A production-oriented society doesn’t value peace and calm. A productivity-oriented society doesn’t value a pause, an interruption, or connection. Those elements aren’t profitable.

What do YOU value? We invite you to choose to co-create a new culture. One that includes breath-filled communication and connection.


Start any conversation with Conscious Breathing. Invite your children and friends to take a couple of moments to breathe with you. Notice any possible discomfort that arises for you in extending this invitation. Remind yourself, if you must, that new habits often feel awkward when we first begin. Move through the awkwardness with your breath.

Then notice the comfort derived from taking a pause in our busy lives to simply breathe together. Generating this useful technique as a regular practice when there’s not conflict allows for familiarity when conflict arises. Starting difficult conversations with a few deep breaths, or with a mindfulness bell to invite pauses in the conversation, may allow wisdom to arrive in the stillness.

Even if the other person doesn’t participate, you can still practice. For instance, if you’re in a situation where you don’t feel comfortable inviting the other person to join you, you can still center yourself with three slow, deep breaths.

We can’t guarantee that three long, deep breaths and some breathing room solves all conflicts instantly. Don’t worry! There are many more tools in our Communication Toolkit! If you want to explore more, please let us know by responding to this post. If you know of somebody who may benefit, please share.

With loving gratitude,

Lelania Harpal Kaur Avila (She/We)
Momocologist & Master of Play and Fun
Harpal’s Healing Harbor
Paradise Found, LLC

My Inner Master Of Play and Fun