Hey. I’m a little worried about you. I think you need to take a breath.
I know you hear that a lot. Someone’s always telling you that, or versions of that. Chill down, chillax, get your bloomers out of their uproar. Fifteen thousand curveballs and fastballs life’s been throwing at you, big ones and small ones and ones that seem like they’ll shake apart the universe.
It’s enough to make you lose your breath.
And that’s one solution I suppose. You can overrule the autonomic til you turn blue. Stamp your foot. Shut your eyes and shake your head. Or you can breathe.
Just breathe. Slowly, to a count of four, thinking about nothing except breathing. Pull in your breath with your abdomen, use your muscles, fill your lungs for four beats. Hold for a tic. Breathe out four beats.
Then do it again.
Whatever life you are going to live, whatever fate has in store for you, your time here is going to be bookended by breaths. You drew your first one upon arrival, you’ll let out your last just as you leave.
And whatever life you live, you’ll always share a few common features with the flame: it needs to breathe just as badly as you do. It consumes, it propagates, but it’s going to sputter. Best it can do is leave some kind of mark before it goes.
How bright you burn, and whatever makes you burn, and whatever you do next is something only you can determine. Be a candleflame or conflagration. Either way, make your mark
Just take a breath first. Relax when you do. Draw in the air slowly, let it out slowly, and push away all other considerations. Just for a while.
Then go ahead and get busy immediately thereafter. You’ve got plenty to do, and there’s plenty that needs doing. You’ll lose yourself in that maelstrom, in what’ll seem like mere seconds. You shouldn’t fash yourself, it happens to us all. We all get swept back in. And we stay there, turning and churning—
until we remember to take a breath.
(P.S., if you need a little more of the same, try this.)