When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
— Lao Tzu
Every once in a while, life gets so hectic that I find myself unable to breathe. I find it hard to take in a deep, cleansing breath and to let go of all the internal conflict brewing. Like being underwater, I feel the pressure around me pushing its will against my chest, making the feelings of panic and anxiety rise and my ability to cope sink down.
I feel myself struggling, kicking against the oppressive power that is life. I feel it pulling at my sleeve, nagging for my attention to a million different details. My head spins, my vision blurs and I can feel the shortness of breath.
Where do I go? What do I do? What needs my attention now and what can wait?
Then suddenly, as if the waves parted and I could feel the fresh sea breeze against my face instead of the slapping current, I realize I don’t have to do anything.
There is nothing in my life that is as important as just breathing. A breath in and a breath out. Repeat. And again.
As I take these breaths, I can feel the chill of the overwhelming storm wash away and leave me tired and battered but alive and free. I need to do nothing more than breathe. Everything else can wait.
And all I have to do is slow down, breathe, and let go.