I’ve been in the process of slowly reading (and re-reading) the book, You Are Here by Thich Nhat Hanh since I arrived back from the What If Conference this February. And so I couldn’t help but share some of my thoughts and feelings on it here…
I’ve only made it about half-way through so far, because I find myself continually cycling back to look over portions of the book that I highlighted because they jumped out at me. There are certain sections I’m finding that I really need right now to help keep me calm, present, and centered as busy season roars on with or without me. Especially since we arrived back from our whirlwind of travel these past two weeks, and I feel the pressure to catch up on all the work I missed while I was gone – work that I just can’t seem to sprint fast enough to catch up with. (If I think I can get through 5 tasks on my to-do list each day – somehow in reality no matter how hard I work and how much I focus I can only manage to cross 3 things off.)
And although I am aware of this feeling of urgency and frustration – somehow it is different than in the past. In other years when the season started and the minutes of each day flew by faster than I liked, I used to feel the stress of it all pressing heavy on my chest… difficult to catch air… difficult to breathe deeply… as thoughts of what I should be doing, or how far behind I was raced through my brain. The more I felt that pressure in my chest, the slower I was at completing any tasks. It was paralyzing. (Which is really helpful when exactly what you need to do is actually DO STUFF.)
But this year – it feels different. When I start to feel the pressure and stress, I take a moment to do some breathing exercises from the book and focus on being present. (I realize I sound like a total hippy right now – haha – but I’m telling you – you need to try this!) I recite in my mind, “Breathing in… I know that I am breathing in. Breathing out… I know that I am breathing out,” as I come back to this moment in my life… a moment I am so blessed to be living… breathing… feeling… I take note of the air flowing down my throat, into my lungs, filling every cell in my body. And I’m suddenly aware that I’m alive.
I can’t even begin to explain how much this has done for me in all facets of my life – my marriage – my business – when I’m waiting in line at the post office – stuck in traffic – frustrated with Chloe – overwhelmed by work – panicked about finances… all of it. Reciting these things and remembering that: I am here, alive, completely alive… and that is a miracle.
So for anyone else starting out busy season, or anybody stressed with day to day life in general – I cannot recommend this book enough. I’ve already told everybody I see to go buy it, and now I’m telling all of you too. 🙂 haha. It has done wonders for me just by reminding me to take time to breathe and change my state of mind.
At the very least – if you aren’t interested in getting the book – consider reciting some of the words taken from page 1 of the book below each morning when you wake (which I try to do before I start my day as well)…
“Every twenty-four hour day is a tremendous gift to us. So we all should learn to live in a way that makes joy and happiness possible. We can do this… I think to myself that this day is a day to live fully, and I make the vow to live each moment of it in a way that is beautiful, solid, and free. … Breathe in and tell yourself that a new day has been offered to you, and you have to be here to live it.”