How 2020 Taught Me How to Stop and Breath
“Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might. When you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive, you will be dead soon enough.”
— ERNEST HEMINGWAY
You’re about to read this article which is discussing a concept, “something” that you already know and do each day. So why read on, well, the purpose of this article is to remind all of us to do this “something“ consciously and not just automatically. That “something” has become second nature to us all instead of being “something” we could experience everyday as if it’s for the first time again.
What is this “something”?
For many of my adult years, it felt like there was never enough time in the day, the week or year to complete my plans. This ranged from my list of practical jobs for the day or even my vision board ideas for the year. I had been running on the metaphorical treadmill for so long by waking up, filling my day with tasks, and then going to sleep in order to do it all over again the next day.
I was desperate for time to slow down so I could catch up with myself, attempting to not only complete my tasks but also have enough time to do the things I wanted to do and more.
I had become so used to living this way that I wasn’t aware of how this was affecting everyone in my life. The moment that made me check in with myself was when my daughter said to me, “Mummy, I would like to hug you”
I live with my daughter 24/7, I see her when she wakes, when she goes to sleep and we also work together, so this didn’t make sense initially. I always hugged her. She explained that she didn’t feel I was present when I was with her.
Then something happened, something that made time stand still. Something that was totally out of my control that meant I had to stop. I had to stop and breathe!
“The Great Pause” March 2020
By the world stopping I had no choice but to acknowledge that my lists were suddenly totally impractical and useless for the near future. I was forced to sit still. A world that I had known my whole life, was now totally different.
After a few days of uncertainty followed by a few days of “holiday” vibe, I realised that this was going to be the new normal for a while. I now had a choice how to spend my “new” time.
One morning, I stopped, breathed, closed my eyes, breathed, opened my eyes and actually saw, felt, smelt, tasted and listened to things in detail for the first time in awhile. I felt like I had been reborn. The world became noisy but in a totally different way to how it had been filled with my own man made noise before. Things that were on my metaphorical list like “hug daughter” became much more important in my day.
I started to remember why I had moved to LA, why I loved living on a boat, why I wanted to get up in the morning. Tasting food that I ate normally inbetween tasks or meetings, now became something to savour and enjoy. Seeing in detail something as simple as the flowery pen I’m writing this blog with, yes, pen to paper which reduced my time on technology. Writing because I wanted to do it and not because I needed to! I had as much time as I needed to hug my dog.
My habits had to have a major overhaul in order for me to continue to recognize and utilize this precious time in this new way.
One of the tools I rediscovered in order to help me reconnect with myself, my family and my environment each morning as soon as I woke up was:
Stop and Sit
Take in big deep breaths
Close my eyes
Continue to take in deep breaths and slow my breathing down
Acknowledge what and where I am
Open my eyes
Write any thoughts down, no matter what comes out on the page, just keep writing
I asked my friends and family to do the same, now we spend time sitting and talking about what these moments in time make us think or feel. It’s fun to take the time to share and listen.
This process slowed me down and reminded me to be grateful for this time, this pause.
How do you want to spend your time today?
Time is a precious commodity, no price can be placed upon it. So even though we all breathe, we don’t give ourselves the time to understand what it feels like. I hope you can sit after reading this article and take the time to “breathe”.
I am very grateful that you gave me your time to read my words, thank you.