“In all chaos, there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.”
“Waiting to exhale” is a phrase many are familiar with, if not from the movie of the same name, just the experience of life as lived. Stressful events in our lives and the world can cause a virtual breathing disorder.
Big changes in our world or our own lives (e.g., career shift, relationship changes, “midlife crisis”, etc.) can have us almost holding our breath. Such feelings of personal or planetary chaos may attempt to deflect our attention and hope from what Thoreau calls our individual versions of “the direction of your dreams…the life you’ve imagined.”
Though any change is always, at first, discombobulating, in The Back Forty we offer that any “crisis” can also be seen as an opportunity.
Yet, while in the midst of the crisis-come-opportunity, we do need to stabilize and get grounded. In that process of getting back to basics, the most basic of basics is to remember to breathe…into the apparent disorder.
We don’t often regard the practice of breathing – whether it be literally, or figuratively (e.g., stepping away from everything to gain perspective) – as a first-blush consideration in living life. Yet, too often that invisible or unappreciated practice becomes highly regarded after a scare of one type or another.
I recently wrote about the opportunity to invent reasons to stop ourselves and breathe before something else stops us (health scare, relationship upheaval, financial sideswipe, etc.).
If we subscribe to The Back Forty belief that each of us has yet to do what we came here to do, then that means we want to take the long view…because we’re ideally going to be around for a very long time.
So, whatever it takes to focus on breathing – literally and figuratively – into whatever disorder we stir up in our purposeful pursuit of a second half of play, passion and purpose is worth every last minute it gives us…because it may be that last minute of this life when we accomplish what we came here to do.
Here’s some thoughts to help you take a breather from world or personal events, and be inspired (latin inspīrāre, to breathe upon or into ):
“True stability results when presumed order and presumed disorder are balanced. A truly stable system expects the unexpected, is prepared to be disrupted, waits to be transformed.”
“One way to break up any kind of tension is good deep breathing.”
“Smiling is very important. If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace. It is not by going out for a demonstration against nuclear missiles that we can bring about peace. It is with our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh
“Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.”
-L. Frank Baum
“I wake up every day and I think, ‘I’m breathing! It’s a good day.'”
“I’m convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.”
“The only reason I would take up jogging is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.”
And here’s a few deep breaths to keep in mind as disorder may, for the moment, continue to wave its frazzled, fearful head:
You can’t help anyone in any worthwhile way unless you have applied your own oxygen mask first.
First and foremost, be sure you’re getting the rest, nutrition and mental relaxation necessary to keep coming at your work, your life, your world with the highest functioning of your full faculties.
There’s a phrase that says, when things get a bit crazy, HALT: never get to Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.
There are many phrases from many cultures which say the same basic truth: things will look different in the morning.
Realizing that, if we give ourselves the self-care to step back for a moment, a bit of rest and NOT thinking about the issue at hand can actually open up new perspectives from which can then be seen new actions to take.
Take a breather from the urgency of the moment. Step away from the machine.
Actually realize the blessing of the fact that you are, right now, in this moment, breathing, with the health, and ability, and food in the fridge, and people who really do care all around you, and opportunities to contribute…all right now available in the present.
There is a next step. This is a life to be lived. There is something yet to unfold to have you be who you came to be and do what you came to do. And you need to keep breathing to get there.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”