While the money drains from my pockets like a busted water main I can’t help but wonder—has our existence really boiled down to name badges and paychecks, fedora’s and chino’s, tax breaks and debt? It’s no wonder the streets are filled with broken bodies.
It’s no wonder the idea of the “weekend” has begun to depress me. This invisible structure, unspoken, yet accepted continues to devour our living, chewing us like cud, and then spitting us out to white sheets where we can’t even reach the bedpan without assistance.
A weekend ago I was eating brunch in The Village, drinking a Bloody Mary, eating eggs Benedict, and writing a letter to a friend when I noticed two men noticing me. They asked if I was a writer—each in their 50’s debating women over Mimosa’s—to which I told them I was just going through the motions of my 20’s. They both smiled, shared a laugh of remembrance, and went back to arguing. If I was smart I’d play the game, perhaps try to sell myself even. One day I thought, but for now, I’m an artist stuck in his artist ways, trying his best not to care that he can’t afford the eggs, the rent, or brunch in The Village for that matter.
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.