Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Just... Breathe

Lately I’ve been noticing a fair amount of discontent among my friends, evident in comments like, “I’m trying to keep the faith, but…” or, “Could today just go okay for me…? or, “So far nothing bad has happened…” I know those feelings. I’ve been in close personal contact with those feelings. It’s easy to get stuck and feel like there’s no rope to grab onto for support. When every day, or even a series of days, feels like that… whew… it’s daunting. We may try to put on a good face, may even manage to fool most people, but we can’t fool ourselves. I think that’s what’s so hard about it. You know how it is. You may manage to get things done and maybe even get a well deserved pat on the back for it, but underneath it all, you’re feeling more than a little resentful, and your basic attitude is, “Fuck this noise.” My catch phrase for those times is always, “Enough! I’m running away to Alaska!!!”

In my opinion, it’s good to occasionally have those times. Often, it’s life’s way of saying, “Hang on a minute. You need to pay attention.” There’s no evolving without first recognizing the need for change. Very often, the thing that most needs to change, and the only thing we really have any control over in this world, is ourselves.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a project to work on and felt completely uninspired. That frustrates me. Try as I might, nothing seems to work when I’m in that state. There are those who know me, even just a little bit, who will gladly tell you that when I’m frustrated, I am not the most pleasant person to be around. I’ve yet to learn how to manage myself in that state. I have, however, learned not to throw or destroy things, and most of the time I can remind myself to walk away. Take a break. Go breathe. Chill, Baby.

Often, after I’ve returned from a “breather,” I find myself pretty much rejuvenated, and I usually end up getting lost in what needs to be done. So, what’s changed? The project is still there and waiting. My studio looks the same as it did minutes before. No, the answer is, my attitude changed. Really, wasn’t it the only thing I had control over all along?

So, when you’re having One Of Those Days; when it seems like Nothing Is Going Right; when everything inside you is screaming one long string of expletives; follow this process:

1) Walk away.
2) Find someplace dark and quiet, or at least quiet.
3) Breathe. Deeply.
4) Listen to the sound of your breathing, be conscious of your pulse.

Psst… it’s called meditating… does wonders for the soul. Forget about trying to reach higher plane of existence. That’s a bunch of bullshit spouted by some hookah smoking seer. We’re here where we are, we are who we are, and we don’t get to go anywhere until we die. So, just… breathe.

And, my friends, some days are rough enough that it’s okay… it’s okay, if all you can do is keep breathing.

~Keep Breathing, Ingrid Michaelson

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