I’ve been breathing a lot lately. The deep inhale, tell-my-self-everything-is-alright kind of breath. It’s something I’ve learnt over time to be effective to lower the blood pressure, to calm the heart rate, to calm the mind or so it seemed. And it made me look like a fish out of water, gasping for air. Perhaps I was indeed gasping for air.
But I’ve also learnt to listen to my body, enough to take notice and then pause. So I did.
It’s not that I’ve been idle. Work is work, there are ordinary usual things to be done to make sure life goes on, that nothing falters. And I have my vision which does not blur.
But I paused from over-planning, over-thinking; I moved away from old mindsets and thoughts. I moved away from worrying and other people’s business. Others’ thoughts and behaviours, others’ expectations and desires… their business.
Just as my business is mine alone. And I take care of my own business.
This brought to mind Maya Angelou’s words, “I care and I dare”. Maya’s words were in the context of being a mother, yet these words have a ring of truth in whichever context. And in mine here and now – I dare to be different, to not be what others expect of me, to be disliked and judged, to be who I am. Because I care to let others be who they are, and I care for my self.
My default in this noisy world is to push through the noise and to fight for quiet – the language of overcoming, solving and fixing are all too familiar. They are all activities, potentially adding to the frenetic. Don’t get me wrong, being active is a good thing, just not all the time.
One thing my years of learning and living have taught me – sometimes we have to stop paddling. And sometimes I forget this. As a friend said, quoting from the book “Eat, Pray, Love” – “I just want to go someplace and marvel at something”. To pause and just marvel, be delighted.
It takes courage to be amongst the noise and not be affected; to not hold a position about the noise or the quiet, and just be.
The past few months have been default, now I am returning to balance. When peace is present, all is quiet. I am taking time to marvel, rather apt as we approach the festive season.
So returning to “Eat, Pray, Love”, “maybe my life hasn’t been so chaotic. It’s just the world that is and the only real trap is getting attached to any of it.”
And breathing… yes, I’m still breathing :-). A different breath. Instead of focusing on the inhale clamoring for life, my attention is on the exhale. As Shunryu Suzuki suggested “first practice smoothly exhaling, then inhaling. Calmness of mind is beyond the end of your exhalation. If you exhale smoothly, without even trying to exhale, you are entering into the perfect calmness of your mind”.
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