In Hard Times…

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I sit, close my eyes, and breathe deep.

I take in air and feel the swirl of pressure inside my lungs. For a moment, I am connected to the world outside, physically taking a piece with me, drawing it in and blending with it, my body taking from it what it needs before sending it on its way.

I sit and I breathe.

I feel what I can, focus only on the natural rhythms of my pulse and breath and micro-tremors in muscles. I think about little, letting reflexive thoughts like an itch here or an uncomfortable limb there exist in a negative space of my mind.

I sit and breathe.

For a moment I allow myself to feel organic. A series of physically connected working parts all acting in unison to produce a person. Lungs drawing in air to collect oxygen to be carried through the rest of the body so that the other units can function to their specifications. A lump of carbon-based flesh draped on sturdy bone, capable of speech and movement and complex thought. Each breath in is necessary. Without them, I could not go on. So simple, breathing. Reflexive and never given a thought as we go about our business, but one of the most important things we do every single day. Here, now, I am just a living creature, and like all others on this world I have but one main goal above everything else: Survival.

And I’m doing damn good at that.

Sit and breathe.

Smile.

And unfurl myself to the thoughts lined up to get in, crowding the small room I’ve had them waiting in for too long, practicing their lines, each ready for their big moment. One by one I parade them in. I take the good with me, I send home the bad. But moreover, I reflect on how each thought has a larger place in my project. Why did that negative thought come to be? Where can this positive thought take me? Why am I reacting this way? Why do I care?

Thoughts breed more thoughts more questions more ideas and suddenly I’ve gone beyond the complex organism focused solely on immediate survival and am truly enveloped in the amazing, unending intricacy of consciousness. Ā I am delighted by the breadth of imagination and logic and reason that can come from a mind. Not just mine, but all minds. Billions of minds, constructed the same way, functioning in their own unique way, developing their own perspective. Each amazing individual living their own story, seeing and reacting as only they can. I am but one part of the whole and suddenly the hard times seem worth it. They have developed this consciousness, helped me create my story.

Negative. Positive. All a part of what makes us who we are.

Life. It gets overwhelming. It gets stressful. It gets crazy. And so it’s important to return to what’s simple. Return from time to time to our bodies’ most basic programming, the one thing at the very bottom of our schematics: survive.

So just sit.

And breathe.

~C

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