Just breathe?

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Filling up those lungs. That’s what you’re meant to do. There’s that 4-7-8 technique and that holding your breath method – and that’s not even thinking about pranic breathing.

Maybe you love taking deep breaths. Maybe you find it difficult. You might find it easier in the morning. You might find it a simple task to quieten your thoughts at night, to just breathe.

What does the thought of breathing deeply conjure up for you?

I tell people to do this, “breathe”. But I’ve spent most of my life being afraid to, I felt like breathing deeply was daring time to stop. Interesting, isn’t it.

It’s getting a bit easier, though, with the child pose and patchouli, a scent I never liked, but is almost hypnotic to me now.

Sometimes, who am I kidding – most of the time, I find myself wondering, “Is it good enough to just breathe? Am I being irresponsible by putting my breath first, and not the million things that need doing right now?”

Think about it. Your brain only operates properly when it receives oxygen. If you don’t have the time and space to breathe, but you expect yourself to fully engage your thinking, isn’t that kind of paradoxical?

So, yes, to answer my own question – sort of, yes. It is good enough to ‘just breathe’. But you need the strength to not panic, and keep breathing until you are calm.

Once the breathing is done, comes the decisioning, and the being alive.

 

Of running out of reset buttons

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Does everyone get their own quota for reset buttons? I wish I knew.

As children, we used to change our minds about things all the time, every day – and maybe it was a little confusing and scary, but mostly, I imagine children have little clue what ramifications are, so we kept at it. I wonder if we really were ‘flexible’. It feels like this generation is asked to be ‘flexible’ and ‘hardworking’. Do the two go hand in hand? I can imagine how so, but I really wonder about this, you know.

If you’re flexible, you can bend, mould, shape yourself into different perspectives and try new things all the time. If you’re hardworking, you’re focused and true to your skills, and keep at it steadfastly. Both take energy. Not the same kind, perhaps.

I don’t think I’m asking ‘what does it take to bring balance between focus and flexibility‘? That’s best tackled by an actual zen master.

If and when you are lucky enough to  steer away from projects that do not allow you to choose balance, does it ever seem like you’re playing a game of Russian roulette? How many times can I press the reset button – and start again – before I am out of chances?

If so, I do wonder how you deal with it.

Food for thought:

“It’s never too late – never too late to start over, never too late to be happy.” – Jane Fonda

 

 

 

Of chasing neither, and choosing me.

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Perhaps you sometimes wonder if “all I’ve been doing is stalling because I am afraid of what would happen if I really did just focus on what I want”. I certainly feel that way. How do you move away from the guilt of wanting something else, something more but not knowing exactly how to get there?

Everywhere we look, people are hustling. On the other hand, people are telling you and I to slow down. There seems to be this tension between rushing around and taking life one moment at a time. Pendulums are the way of the world, so I choose to try to chase neither.

When people talk about mindfulness and meditation, maybe you, like me, can immediately sense, in your gut, “No, that does NOT apply to me. I have an imagination. I have tried breathing and just being, it is too much.”

The scariest thing is starting, even if it is starting small. So here’s what I’m going to try to do. Even if you and I choose to have only a  few minutes to listen to ourselves,  let’s do that. 

Maybe you’re a crafter, like me. If your hands help you centre yourself, it could be taking the time to tidy your desk. Put on one song, just one. And tidy for the duration of the song. Or write out three sentences. Or give yourself a hand massage. I’ve heard people do this in the mornings, timing themselves to get out the door by the time their playlist is done.

Maybe this can help you and I not get too caught up in the world. I find I can get emotional if I give myself time, especially when I’m overwhelmed. That’s usually a cue for me to take a walk, to drink a whole glass of water, and to get away from the centre of the bustle. Resets are important. Never think you don’t deserve one, okay? 

Maybe you want to explore being more centred in a realistic way, not ways that need you to get away from your life. I found that this post helped me imagine these actual little things. It helped to begin to think about taking my first step towards being okay with where I am right now. Once you’re there, you might find that you can look towards what you want to build – without feeling like you’re being pulled back by yourself. Hence what I said up there, “It can take years to learn to get out of your own way.”

The image up top is a desktop wallpaper for you. I love exploring Unsplash for these pictures, which make me feel free and like life is full.

If you like, you can right click and download. Photograph by Teddy Kelley.