take a breath

So over the weekend, I had the opportunity to meet someone who showed me a fantastic way to calm my mind and ease my stress just by modifying my breathing. I had heard of techniques, but I always believed them to involve some sort of meditation that I just wasn’t interested in exploring. But this didn’t require anything except a willingness to try. Sadly, I only had about a minute to go through the process (I was at work), but I may set up a longer session. The results from just one minute were… undeniable.

It’s no news flash that these are stressful times. Though, as a writer, I spend most of my time in my own head, I’m well aware of the real world problems I face everyday. Maybe you’re good at compartmentalizing your life and, like me, you can put all of those concerns in the back of your mind–almost forgotten. But they’re not forgotten. They’re still there, accruing mass like a series of black holes as time goes on. And it starts to wear on your mind–and your body.

My one minute experience was an eye-opener. It reminded what it was like to truly have a clear mind. Clear to think, to process feelings, to enjoy. It’s impossible to understate the value of that kind of freedom.

This week I have already been proactive in reclaiming my writing self. I’ve taken mornings to explore new writing havens in the area in the hopes of finding a place I can go to where I feel comfortable enough to write productively. There are some candidates. And I’ve reconnected with my old writing partner in a totally unexpected way. She invited me to join her in a project that she’s been working on for a while, and I think it’s a fantastic idea. It also relieves me of a lot of… mm, guilt, at asking her to work with me on my project though she was always willing to do so. It’s relaxing to be able to invest in someone else’s work, too.

I was going to talk about how it’s important to take a breath. Get it? I’m clever. 🙂 But I realized that it’s more than just taking time off. They’re not really the same thing. For whatever reason, some of us have forgotten how to take a breath, how to relax, and some of us have never really learned how to clear our mind. I know how to distract myself, sure. I’m pretty good at deflecting pressure, but I’ve never been good at “turning off” and just being. If we’re going to put in the effort, take the time, and invest in taking a break–from whatever it is (not just writing)–we ought to make the most of it by taking a breath.

As I said, I’m going to explore this breathing technique further, see how I might be able to integrate it into my daily routine. It’s a wonder. And I recommend we all explore our own ways to clear the mind. See what happens.

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