How do we digest, absorb or process the world we walk through each day? Lately, it’s been like trying to take a sip from a fire hose pointed at our face. Like most of you, I’m guessing; I have spent many hours and even more in-depth conversations with friends just trying to make sense of the incomprehensible. It can leave us feeling fragile. It can leave us despondent. It certainly can leave us tired, depending on where you stand on any given issue – mad as hell. So the thing I want to remind myself and those around me is first to take a deep breath.
Breath is life-giving. If you close your eyes, take a few deep breaths (try to empty your lungs at least once), and when you’re ready, slow your breathing down. Imagine taking a breath from your toes (I know but trust me) and expanding your lungs fully. Then, release it slowly while mentally trying to exhale about twice as long as the intake. It’s a meditation trick to bring your body into a deeper sense of calmness. You might be surprised how many times a day we hold our breath when stressed. When you do, take a deep breath.
Lately, I feel like this dystopian carnival we’re living in is just too much. It IS too much. With our wonderful ability to know a pin dropped on the other side of the world comes the tidal wave of information. So, what can we do? We need to know our limits and love ourselves enough to allow ourselves some space. Pick your battles. Do those things you can affect in the ways you can. It can be as simple as offering a smile to a stranger and making eye contact. We never know what that can mean to someone. Being seen is life-changing. It does sometimes feel like the world is on fire and spinning backward.
Let’s choose to find the soul-feeding, the uplifting, and those who bring us joy. Yes, I know that’s tough – do it anyway. Do not reward bitterness with more bitterness. You may not feel or be appreciated – do it anyway. We all can choose to emit love into the Universe. I believe those little ripples matter. So just for today, pay attention to your body and your thought. Find just one thing that brings you joy. Speak out loud, “Thank you.” The Universe loves a grateful soul.
Jonathan Cain is a native of Florence, Alabama, and has been the current Curator for the Tennessee Valley Museum of Art located in Tuscumbia, AL, since January 2020. He functioned in that role previously for several years before leaving to pursue a career in education. He holds an undergraduate degree in graphic design from the University of North Alabama and graduate degrees from both the University of Mississippi (MFA – Sculpture) and the University of North Alabama (MA – Clinical Mental Health). He is an eclectic artist who likes to pursue many different media.