Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us that we should create a breathing room. We need to find that special place in our homes where we can insulate ourselves from all of the chaos around us. He writes,” I recommend that we set up a small room in our homes and call it a ‘breathing room,’ where we can be alone and practice breathing and smiling, at least in difficult moments.”
This could be a corner, a cubicle or a garden. Somewhere close to the plants in the house would be a good idea because they represent the breath of life. This should be a sacred spot where concerns can be forgotten for a few moments of each day.
Exhaling and breathing out, when the going gets rough is what will sustain us. We had a family friend who worked as a security guard for a large corporation. He said that when he received news of some disturbance, he would breathe, fold his newspaper slowly and then approach the situation as calmly as possible.
If everyone is flying off the handle at the same time, then more confusion and anger ensue. Someone has to remain calm and keep a level head until the storm passes. Finding a place to re-center and think things through is essential to making good choices and living with minimal regret.
We all know that in the heat of the battle, tempers flare and poisonous words are spoken that cannot be taken back. We must retreat to our breathing spaces and think before we speak, if at all possible. Stuart Wilde said, “Retreat can sometimes be the most powerful tool in your bag of tricks. It’s the ability to walk away when things aren’t right.”
Our breathing spaces should be chatter-free and quiet. After spending some time sitting in the silence, we are restored and we find our balance. The rhythm of our breathing becomes normal again. The fog lifts and the sun peaks through the long-standing clouds.
We let out a sigh. As the elders used to say, “We have come back to ourselves.” It was their way of saying that we had come back to our senses. We breathe and thank goodness that we are feeling whole again!
Lynn M. December 11, 2015