I’m tired this morning. It’s not the fact that I was awoken by three hyperactive dogs at 4am, nor that someone forgot to turn the heat off last night when it was nearly sixty degrees (unseasonably warm for this time of year in the Pacific Northwest). I’m mostly tired of being tired all the time.
My morning routine isn’t magical or unique. It involves a sleep-induced, coffee-filled mug with a splash of cream, and on weekends, a scroll through the news, a check-up on my friends and family via social media. Sound familiar?
News and social media isn’t the most positive thing to get my energy flowing in the morning. In fact, it’s rather depressing. Today, I learned the 13th school shooting of 2018 happened a few days ago, and Russia is building underwater nuclear weapons. Stan Lee is in the hospital, and the prognosis is grim. The U.S. is broiling new plans for deportation laws, and women still don’t have the rights we deserve.
I’m sharply reminded of a quote from Stephen King’s novel, The Green Mile. You may remember this meme you’ve seen a few times, especially in these troubling times:
Today is Saturday, and I have class in a few short hours (yes, even teachers teach on weekends, people). I’m tired, angry at the world, and feeling the weight of everything that’s happening around me that I can’t control. I feel you, John Coffey, spelled C-O-F-F-E-Y, like a broken lightbulb rumbling around my head.
A good friend has been screaming her mantra at me lately: “BREATHE!” Everytime she says it, I think, how is that supposed to help me? When everything seems to spin out of control, this is exactly what I need to do.
An article from Livestrong.com reports that deep breathing can increase endorphins, the happy drug, in our brain, and promote pain reduction, better sleep patterns, and even swap our feelings of anger for more relaxing ones. Deep breathing isn’t easy, either. It required a process of inhaling through the nose and exhaling, tensing muscles and releasing. It’s a process that can take minutes … or hours.
The most important part is: don’t overthink.
You might find you’re wandering in the darkness and trying to see the positive in life. You might not be able to summon those wonderful endorphins; at least not yet. But I promise you, keep breathing. They will come.
It’s 6am now and I’m staring at this blog post, wondering where it’s going, and another quote from The Green Mile hits me. Maybe you’ve seen this one before, maybe you haven’t.
I realized in these quiet, dark moments, when we learn to breathe, there is hope at the end of the tunnel. We can’t stop what’s happening around us. The world is indeed an evil place right now. I don’t think I will ever avoid the tired weight of people being ugly to each other. But what I can do is learn to breathe, not overthink, and concentrate on the light over the horizon.
At the risk of a cliche, carpe diem certainly applies here. What will do you to make the world a better place? To seize the day, and make it your own? Paul Edgecomb did it when he healed the warden’s wife, and even in the way he tried to make the prisoners’ lives better, even though they would all die in the end.
I think when we learn to breathe, we can reach out to others and teach them how to breathe, too.
Live it, master it, and share it with others.
Learn to breathe. That’s about all we can do.