OK, so today was a major thaw day, but it was also yet another day of kids and parents at home during a work/school week. As I’ve written about before, remaining housebound for too long can put me on edge. It may be that I just crave distraction, but too many days in a row “trapped” in the house and I start to pace like a caged animal.
But it’s not that there aren’t 108 things for me to be tending to today. Unlike the last cluster of snow days, this time we were all better prepared to work from home for several days running. I’ve got plenty of busy to keep me busy, that’s for sure. No, it was just the opposite that I felt this morning. Even before I could sit quietly and have that first cup of coffee, the thought of all of my work obligations started to clamor for my attention. It seemed as though my multi-tasking chickens were coming home to roost, as storm-delayed meetings and postponed due dates were now starting to overlap with other looming deadlines, creating a perfect storm of overcommitment from now until the middle of March.
In short, I woke up feeling just a wee bit overwhelmed.
When I did my t-shirt purge back in January, I mentioned that I held onto an old shirt that my brother gave me that reads “Don’t Panic.” What I didn’t explain is that he gave that shirt to me as a gift in response to a t-shirt I had given him a few months earlier that read: “Don’t Forget to Breathe.”
I am often struck by how in high stress situations, people will tend to hold their breath. I’ve caught myself doing that while climbing, as I’m about to attempt something that seems beyond my limits.
How on earth could I forget to breathe at such a moment? How indeed.
So today’s point of focus is as simple as that: breathe. When I caught myself getting too caught up, I reminded myself to stop, and breathe.
There’s a reason why breath is such a powerful tool for meditation, and why it’s Mindfulness 101: whatever I’m doing, I’m breathing while I’m doing it.
Or at least I should be breathing.
Breath is a gentle reminder of being-present that nudges me out of my projections and speculations and back into the moment I’m actually living–the here and the now.
My guess is that over the next few weeks, I will frequently find myself in a situation in which I will need this reminder: all I really need to do, instead of stressing over looming deadlines and triple-stacked responsibilities, is to breathe, center, and carrying on.