I’ve been practicing more than my share of deep breathing this week. I’m in the depths of transition from one speed to another. I tend to live my life with a top speed as a baseline. So when things really ramp up, the effect is pretty dizzying.
Take a deep breath. You can only do what you can do.
I always found it a little odd when people would say “look at the big picture” in reference to some sort of problem or stress. I understand the whole idea of not getting too caught up in the minutia, the tiny details, but instead stepping back and putting things into a larger perspective.
Often times, for me at least, it’s the big picture that is stressful. I find myself needing to turn inward. Talk a little less about it. Bite off smaller pieces. Block out surroundings. Make tiny stitches into fabric. Read poetry, not prose.
Even the little picture can quickly turn into the big picture. How many tasks must be performed in a morning. Ten? Twenty? Fifty? One hundred? Can we get six shoes, three hats, two backpacks, one epi-pen, plus people, out the door in the next four minutes? It was 8:11 and on schedule one minute ago, before it became 8:26 and late the very next one. When it was 8:11, I was enjoying a nice bowl of oatmeal; at 8:26 the entire day’s / week’s / month’s worth of obligations were tumbling through my head and the oatmeal was forgotten and dried up in the bottom of the bowl.
I wrote down the words of a hymn we sang a few weeks back on the inside of a leather wrapped address book I only use for my Christmas card list. Why do I carry this book around in my purse, a book that I never use? Why do I carry a lot of things, I ask myself. Why do I let them pile up and weigh down my shoulder and my mind?
I read it and reread it all day long.
Come and find the quiet center
in the crowded life we lead,
find the room for hope to enter,
find the frame where we are freed.
Clear the chaos and the clutter,
clear our eyes that we can see
all the things that really matter,
be at peace, and simply be.
In the Spirit let us travel,
open to each other’s pain,
let our loves and fears unravel,
celebrate the space we gain.
There’s a place for deepest dreaming,
there’s a time for hearts to care,
in the Spirit’s lively scheming
there is always room to spare.
* words by Shirley Erena Murray, 1992