For the majority of my adult life I have lived in impoverished communities, mainly because it’s what I am able to afford. I have seen, felt, and heard the cries of both men and women, alone in gutters, pulling the arms of children onward to a life not many of us will ever lead. Some of course have made choices leading them down this path, others are facing hard times, but I see the majority of them, just as I see myself, as I see my loved ones, as common people. So regardless of the outcome of an election, regardless of the winning or losing side, I still see many men, women, and innocent children who will continue to suffer either way. I do my best to spare what little I have to offer, be it a dollar or two, a bottle of water, or even a smile which seems to go even further than the former because at least they know that they are seen, and like so many of us often feel, we like those less fortunate are not forgotten. So just be a decent person, treat people with dignity and respect, regardless of their current standings in life. Do what you can to leave the world a better place than it was yesterday. And be well, my friends. Be humble and aware. And give more than you receive, when possible. With love, gratitude, and thanks to all who’ve graced my path, and who I continue to think of daily.
How many times a day do you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, angry or confused?
After counting all of mine, would you mind if I borrow your fingers and toes?
In Peace Is Every Step, Thich Nhat Hanh suggests a breathing room. He writes, “we have a room for everything—eating, sleeping, watching TV—but we have no room for mindfulness. I recommend that we set up a small room in our homes and call it a “breathing room,” where we can be alone and practice just breathing and smiling, at least in difficult moments.”
If by chance you’re thinking, why didn’t I think of that, then join the club.
He goes on to describe this common space, the “breathing room,” as sort of a fortress of solitude where with respect to the inhabitant, no one else may enter or disturb their chosen silence.
It’s basically for that moment when a conversation turns into a discussion, which turns to a debate—with seemingly no agreeable outcome—which in turn forms into an argument, with no resolve.
So it’s reserved only for that peak moment of, “I need some space,” or “give me a moment to think.”
With so much information cycling in and out of your subconscious, be it social apps, advertisements, marketing, news, or work, where it can feel like our minds get lost in the shuffle, or rather programmed with ideas that aren’t solely our own, this often causes our discussions or thoughts to turn to anger and confusion, which in turn manifests itself in words of anger and confusion.
So instead of falling into a pit of verbal debate which at the start was never our intention to begin with, there in lies the breathing room.
It seems a bit strange at first but if you factor in the amount of screens we allow to jumble our thoughts on a daily basis, it really makes a lot more sense as to why it’s more than necessary in today’s day and age to have a space for mindfulness and calm reflection.
It’s a practice I continue to engage, like a well oiled machine, with proper maintenance and care, we can all find peace and understanding, and better ways to dealing with hard situations.
And I think that by allowing ourselves this space and time, we can find a better means of listening, speaking, and treating one another with the proper respect of another that we also deserve.
Breathe in. Breathe out. And by getting to the center of ourselves, we can then find better understanding of another.
I recently came across a post stating, “this is a bad year.”
Though I don’t disagree that bad things have happened this year, I can’t fully commit to such a bold statement as the entire year being bad.
Or perhaps, I’m just looking at it from a more critical standpoint?
A protest for example, is a collaborative effort between cultures standing together for justice.
The police force has made efforts, though not always headline news, to reinforce their code of conduct: to protect and serve.
Most citizens are respecting the rights of others, choosing to wear masks, in the fight against COVID-19.
The government is making attempts to sustain our American way of life through relief programs and continued unemployment benefits—even though at times it may feel like not enough—granting enough security to survive.
I’ve seen a number of portable facilities spring up in mainly homeless areas of Los Angeles, which does not solve the issue, but certainly shows hope.
What I am getting at is even in our darkest times, there are signs of hope.
Hope which we can and should not disregard as a complete and utter bad year.
If anything, I’d say, there is an awakening taking place.
What I see from an observers eye is an awakening of people who, regardless of the hardships, struggle, and inability to make concrete sense of all the senseless acts that have been occurring, realize a need for change and progression forward as a human race.
We are all struggling, regardless of another’s grass, I repeat,
we are all struggling.
But with struggle comes realizations. And with realization comes understanding. And with understanding comes progress.
Through common ground and communication I know there is hope, for you, and I, and the suffering on all sides.
It struck me odd today when a friend told me they envy my ability to travel where in turn I assured them, not everything is as it may seem, and that I too am struggling, only I choose a different point in which to view my current state of awareness.
You don’t have to travel far to climb a mountain or swim in a lake, or wake to see the most beautiful sunrise, or even lend a hand to someone less fortunate, because these are natural and always there waiting for you to take action.
Rather than saying, “this year is a bad year,” I suggest taking a deeper look and the time to realize that progress is happening.
And though progress may seem difficult, remain hopeful, my friends.
Be honest with yourself and your loved ones.
Greet a stranger as he were your family, with arms stretched wide in abundance.
Be the light at the end of the tunnel, the light which shines even in our darkest of times.
Be the air of peace in which we’re all capable of breathing.