This One Step Gets You On The Road To Calm
My friend Giuseppe would probably be Santa Claus if he wasn’t a massage therapist. When I showed up at his downtown office for an appointment one day, he looked at me with his squinty-I-can-see-your-energy eyes, and said with a twinkle, “How are you?”
I replied, “I’m fine.”
And then the l-a-u-g-h-i-n-g began!
It’s really fun to tell a lie, knowing it’s a lie, knowing that your dear friend can see it’s deliberate. It’s especially fun if a lie is invited, which, to my way of thinking it was, twinkly eyes and all. When Giuseppe noticed my state that morning, he knew full well that whatever was about to come out of my mouth would be up for light-hearted scrutiny.
On the massage table, I mentioned to Giuseppe a few reasons that I might possibly be upside down and sideways about life. He said this brilliant, simple thing.
“Whatever it is, you ought to just breathe about it.”
And then he rolled up his sleeves and kneaded the stress out of my body. “Breathe about it” has become a mantra of sorts, a way to soften.
Deep, slow, conscious breathing drops us out of monkey mind, out of worry and distress, because it’s impossible to think troubled thoughts and breathe consciously at the same time.
It’s especially handy that the phrase “breathe about it” is easy to remember, even (and especially) under duress.
Breathing consciously reminds us to do other slow things as well, such as taking time to reflect, write, daydream, and stop and smell the roses.
When I take the time to breathe, my senses open and my perspective expands. My appreciation for being alive rises up through me again and I remember that earth’s beauty matters to me.
I didn’t grow the redbuds, magnolias, or dogwoods that are blooming now, yet there they are, and what a miracle. I didn’t rotate the earth or cause the sun to rise over the horizon this morning, and still, it happens.
When I breathe about it, I remember that many things are done for me.
In September and October when I still lived in the home Eric and I had together, and the weather was especially heavenly, I often did yoga on the cobblestone sidewalk leading to the surrounding forest of sixty foot trees.
I don’t know what it is about falling leaves (or spring blossoms or snow) that’s so personal, so gentle, so lovely, but it feels dear to me, and intimate.
When leaves fell from treetops all the way to my shoulders during Triangle pose or down dog, the beauty of it touched me. Some leaves floated and took their sweet time. Others plummeted.
Being caressed by nature during sidewalk yoga relaxed me and gave me the you-ought-to-just-breathe-about-it feeling.
Two Things I Know.
This I know after living this long: everything turns out OK eventually. Life unfolds, goes where it goes, does what it does. It may or may not be what I expected or thought I wanted.
This I also know after living long: everything is for my benefit, somehow some way.
The marriage that went sideways? (There will be a silver lining to that cloud as time goes on. Look for it.)
An unexpected turn in the housing market affected your business? (Wait for it. The benefit will show up, but probably not instantly.)
Your partner walked away? (Breathe about it. You have a new life, a new start. What will you do with it?)
Breathe About It Means…
Breathe about it means take a pause.
Breathe about it means give it room.
Breathe about it means leave it alone, for now. Let it be.
Breathe and let things happen. Breathe more, think less. Breathe more, fix less. Breathe more, and don’t worry about so much about changing anything.
Get quiet enough and breathe deeply enough to hear your heart speak.