Sometimes I need to stop, sit down, and just breathe. You know?
For some reason, I figured that as I got older, things would slow down. Calm down. Simmer down. I was mostly wrong. The world seems to spin at a constantly faster pace, and there are still times when I need three of me.
The difference is that I’ve leaerned a few tricks – a few simple to-do’s so that I can work more effectlively on the to-be’s. Here they are, borrowed, learned, remembered, or gathered:
1. Count my blessings
Some days that’s easier than others. But on the hard days, the painful ones, the dark ones? That’s when I need to do it most. And there is comfort there.
2. Practice kindness
All fine and good when I feel well, and things are calm, and people are nice. It’s the other times [which is most of the time] that it requires more self control and more inner calm. Just as I need kindness – more than many realize some days – I figure the ones I see, or say “Hi” to, or pass, are like me. They’re dealing with hard things and may be feeling overwhelmed. If I can self-report that I’ve exercised kindness – even to the brusque rude ones on occasion – then it’s been a pretty good day.
3. Listen to my heart
I love the counsel in the New Testament’s book of John in which Jesus reminds us to
Let not (our) heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
When my heart is troubled, it’s more bothersome- of more import, usually – than when my mind is troubled. Fear being the ridiculous (but very real, sometimes) obstacle that it is, what an impediment it can be to peace and calm! When I work on it, I can settle down, and get back on track. Paying attention to my heart – to my feelings – is hugely important.
4. Be productive yet calm
Being Busy As A Bee is not all it’s cracked up to be. Busy for the sake of busy? That’s not a worthwhile goal. But to accomplish things, whether it’s the mundane household chores, some monumental corporate goal, or a quiet but important family goal, we are meant to be productive.
Sometimes I don’t feel like being productive. But that’s another story for another topic. In the getting -things-done mode, if I am careful NOT to mix the hectic pace of production with hectic tension, I am wise. A sense of calm not only alleviates stress. It allows me to get more done. And to enjoy it more.
5. Just breathe
If you’ve ever had pneumonia, or if you deal with chronic lung problems, you know to appreciate the ability to breathe. But let’s take this figuratively as well as literally.
There are times when I must stop! Look around me. Or look within myself. Pace myself. Back away from the craziness of life. And breathe in. At those moments, there seems a bit more clarity. It calms the heart and centers me when I’ve been floundering out and about in the coo-coo sphere of Too Busy, Too Bothered, or Too Bewildered.
Some days, to Just Breathe is enough. That gives me – along with these few other tips- the strength and the hope to hold on for the next go-round. It brings another drop of quiet joy. And that’s so very good.
And goodness matters.