In times of high stress, I often do a simple breathing exercise: while taking deep breaths, I say in my mind, “Breathing in…Breathing out”. It’s remarkably calming, centreing, stops the otherwise ceaseless circular chatter of doubts and fear and second-guessing running through my mind and brings me back to the here and now. With it, I re-connect to my body and my inner self, pruning away all the external noise.
But there were days even that wouldn’t work. On days when I could barely breathe, and there were many of those, I would sing this song under my breath. When I got my breath back, I’d sing it out loud. Everyday worked when nothing else could. It kept me from collapsing into puddles of anxiety, grief, fear, anguish, self-doubt and self-pity. If not entirely happy, I could keep myself entirely functional which, given the state I was sometimes in, could only be classified as an utter triumph.
Everyday reminds me that the only moment is now. The past is history. The future unwritten. The only moment that matters is the one I’m presently living. Feel the sensations of the moment. Live in the conditions of the moment. Living in the moment got me through the moments that make up a day, the days that make up a week, and the transitions that transform a life.
Diana Krall Plaza
Bathtub Race Weekend Launch Party
British Columbia, Canada
Taken during travels, July 24th, 2015
And, sometimes, it’s a good thing, too. It’s good to remind myself how far I’ve come since 2008, which was itself a year of remarkable experiences, remarkable events, remarkable insights, remarkable growth and remarkable stresses. I built upon those experiences, and managed the stresses. I haven’t needed this mantra in a long while.
Or, have I?
It’s good, also, to remind myself that I need a bit of a kick in the ass. Need to seek out the kinds of experiences, events, insights, and, yes, even some of that stress, which made that year and the few following it so important and, ultimately, fulfilling. If I want to keep expanding, growing, transforming, best set myself to live everyday like it’s my last one.
What better mantra could there be to set the manifestation of that in motion?