In this fast-paced world, with all the expectations, deadlines, and responsibilities, how can we possibly find a spare second to stop and take a breath? Between cramming for mid-terms, preparing our taxes for that dreaded date of April 15th, and making sure that all of our daily duties are complete - it can be rough trying to actually thrive, rather than merely survive. How many of our daily interactions are missed because we become so focused on our to-do lists and “what if’s”? Ask yourself, when was the last time that you actually stopped to notice that little gecko scurrying across the sidewalk or that peach tree flowering it’s first bloom of the season? I know someone out there is thinking, “give me 10 more hours in my day, then I could potentially think about paying attention to those little things.” In reality, though, would those 10 extra hours really give you the time to take in these things, or would you just find other tasks, worries, and duties to fill you time with?
Believe me, I get it! Life is demanding and there are always things that need to get done – but at what sacrifice? We run and run and run, hoping that all of our hard work pays off in the end yet we continue to struggle in even seeing a glimpse of that so-called “pay off.” In turn, we develop resentment – resentment against ourselves, others, our jobs, our pets, our kids, our bills, and anything else that we can point a finger to. All the while, we’re allowing ourselves to fall deeper and deeper into our own pit of yuck. I don’t know about you, but this is definitely a cycle that I don’t enjoy.
Even though we can’t always change our responsibilities or tasks, we can certainly alter they way in which we respond to them. One question that I’ve found to be helpful is, “will the world stop spinning if I don’t get this done right now?” Unless the task at hand is cutting the wire on the nuclear explosive device, the answer is usually no. There is always time for us to stop and take a breath. Breathe, re-center, and refocus our energies onto the here and now. Those 10 seconds could mean the difference between a good decision and a bad one, a healthy response and a malicious one, or a smile and a frown.
Allowing yourself to pull away from the ‘yuck’ of yesterday and the angst of tomorrow will afford you the opportunity to see and experience that which is right in front of you. Challenge yourself to stop and breathe; take in the beauty that is surrounding you right here and right now. In not taking advantage of the present, the gifts that are right in front of us will soon become the disappointment of yesterday. Just breathe...