"When you are under water, it's important to breathe." - Ana Spanikopita

I have been taking my breaks, as you can tell from the quote above. I have been not spacing them out politely but clumping them together in day-long chunks, the sounds of rain all around, and lots of tea with whipped honey. It has been a great January. It's a good month for reflecting, watching Bojack, setting out intentions and making a plan for the new year ahead. 

But what a great moment it is as I write this to you! The rain is coming straight down and the sky is a cuddly gray. Remembering that the best part of life is in the present moment, always coming back to that is the life jacket I need during stressful times. Taking a pause when I am feeling stressed out, and not leaping into first responder mode is hard! It has been a challenging lesson to incorporate. I have discovered that while I think my first response is always my best one, every time I allow myself time to reflect and step out of the emotions capturing my immediate attention, a response more in line with my intentions becomes apparent.

When the next cavalcade of confusion tumbles over you, it's likely it will seem impossible to step back and pause for 30 seconds even. But in our relaxed state of mind we can see that aside from immediate physical danger, we usually have 30 seconds to give to breathe deeply and ask ourselves a question or two. "What's really going on here?" "Is there a tiny kernel of truth here?" "What questions would help me understand this situation better?"

Thich Nhat Hanh says, "For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them." Sometimes we can be so adamant about our view, our way, we prevent our own selves from seeing the stunning new vista only momentarily obscured by clouds. We pause. The rain stops, the clouds part, and in a little while, things change. Don't get hooked.