A couple years ago, right about this time, my life was a process of transformations. Significant ones. Life changers. World changers. Personal, spiritual, career, love: you name it, it was changing. It seemed like Bif Naked had a song for every single transformation, every single condition I was experiencing. My Whole Life, Lucky, Violence, Hold On, That’s Life, Nothing Else Matters, I Love Myself Today, That’s Life With Me, Tell On You, Religion, Choking On The Truth. Hell, the titles themselves tell a story, don’t they? Bif was on my iPod in high rotation, and there were many days spent driving around town, or between Whistler and Vancouver on the gorgeous Sea-to-Sky highway, belting these songs out at the top of my lungs with her.
In times of high stress, I often do a simple breathing exercise. while taking deep breaths, I say in my mind, “Breathing in…Breathing out”. It’s remarkably calming, centreing, stops the otherwise ceaseless circular chatter of doubts and fear and second-guessing running through my mind and brings me back to the here and now. With it, I re-connect to my body and my inner self, pruning away all the external noise.
But there were days even that wouldn’t work. On days when I could barely breathe, and there were many of those, I would sing this song under my breath. When I got my breath back, I’d sing it out loud. Everyday worked when nothing else could. It kept me from collapsing into puddles of anxiety, grief, fear, anguish, self-doubt and self-pity. If not entirely happy, I could keep myself entirely functional which, given the state I was sometimes in, could only be classified as an utter triumph.
Everyday reminds me that the only moment is now. The past is history. The future unwritten. The only moment that matters is the one you’re presently living. Feel the sensations of the moment. Live in the conditions of the moment. Living in the moment got me through the moments that make up a day, the days that make up a week, and the transitions that transform a life.
Thanks Peter…this song should be everybodys mantra
It’s amazing how effective it is….I’ve listened to it a few times and….it works! It just sends a buzz of hope coursing through my body, and simple though the message is, it has my spirits soaring while listening to it.
Your “breathing in….breathing out“….technique is also a godsend. You had previously suggested I try that when I was having difficulty coping and sleeping due to a personal crisis, and just of late, I have had nights where insomnia was my only friend….at 1am, 2am, 4am …and I remembered your words, and calmed my mind with “breathe in, breathe out” and…before too long Zzzzzz.
I’ve added “Everyday” to my personal inspiration playlist and know it will instill the thought that “the way things are today, are not the way they will always be” everytime I listen to it
I should blog about that breathing method. Well, I have, but I should blog about the book I learned that practice from, Stephen Levine’s A Gradual Awakening.
That simple breath exercise is a gentle introduction to meditation, and Levine’s book is an insightful, illuminating read which expands that exercise into a full meditation practice. I’m about due for a re-read.
Thanks for that tip Peter….I have just purchased that book and will add it to my box of “essentials” (-vs- crap) to take on my roadtrip.
I’m hoping to try it out (the meditation) at a couple of stops along the way – I’ll let you know how I get on 🙂
So, how did you and Mr. Levine get on? I’m curious if the book was as helpful for you as it proved to be for me.