I rushed to get to the doctor this morning and he was late. He is only there for a half an hour in this little village. My heart rate was much higher than normal when he finally arrived because I had allowed myself to become stressed. In retrospect, while waiting, I could have taken the time to still my mind. I could have taken a breathing break.
We rush through life when I believe we shouldn’t need to. Living in a big city is not natural for my psyche, for sure. I’m still in a cave in my mind. I have lived and worked in London and Johannesburg, LA, Nashville and other European cities while performing and recording. I have spent time visiting in New York, marvelling at the traffic and the pace. I was so glad I was a musician and not a secretary, although I did once work for a few months as a receptionist for a newspaper while waiting for my showbiz life to unfold. As a performer I got to sleep late most days, party or visit at night after shows until all hours. Crazy, mad, fun, intense times. And sometimes I needed to rush. Through traffic, through scripts, through airports, through filming, through PR tours, through life.
Over the years life has changed somewhat. And I am older now. Now I stroke the cat, hug the dog, smile with my eyes closed and breeeeeaaaathe.
While life does continue to rush for many, here’s a way to cope. Simple breathing. Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hahn, is said to take three mindful breaths ever hour, no matter if he is in the middle of a lecture or elsewhere. It seems so easy when you read or hear it. In the beginning, some years ago, I would find myself having done two breaths and then losing focus, forgetting the third. Now I am better at it. Here, sitting at my desk, my fingers still, like a very mini meditation, I breathe and be in the moment, noticing sounds around me, letting thoughts go, noticing my breathing, in and out. “Just recognition, mere recognition, simple recognition of the presence of the in-breath and out-breath”. There. Three done.]
If you are stressed today, stroke the cat, hug the dog, and breeeaaathe.