More and more, we are encouraged to be present, mindful, and engaged. Some of us regard this as nearly impossible. We have lots of commitments, lots of tasks, and lots of people relying on us. Allowing ourselves a few minutes to “just be” seems like an indulgence.
(If you’ve gotten this far, I’m confident you’ll feel rewarded by the end of this post.)
Take a second to look at this picture:
Clearly, those are the feet of someone who is dead.
Take a second to imagine yourself pulling back the sheet and seeing the entire lifeless corpse. Notice how there is no breath going in and out of this body.
Close your eyes and consider this.
There is something deep within the human brain that causes (most) people to take a very deep breath when they encounter a non-breathing body. For some, this is not limited to humans; other formerly living creatures are included in the reflexive deep inhalation.
Did you take a deep breath? If not, have you taken one by now?
No matter where you are right now, you have time to fully exhale whatever air is in your lungs, sit up straight, and fill every tiny aveoli with air. Now hold that in for a count of five, then exhale slowly.
Take a minute to breath in to the count of five, hold it for five, and breath our for five.
I will presume you took that minute for yourself.
Since you did, you have proven through your very own breath that you are alive. You have been present and your list of commitments, tasks, and dependents hasn’t changed, nor have any been compromised by the last few minutes that you have given yourself.
Whenever you feel overwhelmed (or even underwhelmed) you can use your own breathing to remind yourself of your vitality. And since you have to breath anyhow, you might as well, on occasion, make it count for more than subsistence.