Breathe In

At the end of the day, I find it important to ask myself:

Did I punk out or rock it today?

I don’t know about you, but I sleep much better after a hard day’s work than after a day of Netflixin’ and chillin’. My body and mind like to move. The busier I am with things I believe matter, the happier (and more exhausted) I am.

This can lead me to take on too many obligations and say “yes” to too many engagements. I struggle in downtime more than I struggle in busyness.

But on days like today, I am reminded of the need for silence, space, and rest. Our bodies are far more attuned to what’s going on with us than we give ourselves credit for.

Learning to push past the voice that says, “c’mon - don’t go for a run this morning” is just as important as learning to tune into the subtler one that says, “we need rest or you’re gonna get sick.”

I mean, after all, the term is human being, not human doing. Eastern philosophy tells us to quiet the incessant chatter of the mind, the compulsion to do, do, do.

There’s a balance that we must each strike for ourselves. Working hard can turn compulsive, even obsessive, making it no less harmful than work aversion.

In an Instagram culture that promotes “HUSTLE” and “HARD WORK”, remember that it’s okay to take a day off. It’s okay to reset and reprioritize. It’s okay to want to be alone. It’s okay to sit on the couch and binge watch Scandal or the NBA. Do you.

Having a driving sense of moral duty and a deep desire to do good in the world is a beautiful gift. But as many have reminded me over the years, my girlfriend especially, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”

You need to take time out of your life to simply be.

Be grateful.

Be strengthened.

Be reminded.

Eastern philosophy doesn’t call for sloth; it calls for intentionality. You can’t be intentional if you are in constant motion, which makes taking time to breathe and quiet the mind necessities. They are the mental training for the mental marathons you need to run.

I hope that wherever you are in the world today you are taking time to connect with yourself. To just be. Even if you can only grab ten minutes on a crowded subway to-and-from work, use it.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

You are alive.

Sit in that thought.

Kate Ward