When I was a kid—after bedtime—as quietly as I could, I would crawl from my bed, onto the floor, then elbow and knee my way down the hallway to lay in the doorway of my brothers room to watch his television.
He’s four years older than I am and, well, I thought he was really cool.
One, for having a TV in his bedroom. And two, for probably knowing I was there but not saying anything.
Whatever he was watching didn’t really make a difference but it was comfortable there, on the carpet, with the blue light flashing.
A dark bedroom can be pretty scary to a child, especially during a thunderstorm.
Now that we’re older, we speak when it is necessary, but not all the time.
Probably less than either of us cares to admit.
He’s a busy working husband and parent while I’m pretty much all over the map.
Though when we do talk, it’s a meaningful talk of mutual reflection. He provides me with information from four years down the line and I remind him that I’m listening by offering whatever small insights are on my mind.
I thought he was great then and I still do now. No matter the distance the bond between two brothers is strong and unwavering.
Basically what I am saying is I look forward to the next time we’re able to watch a little TV, crack a couple jokes, and just hang out—without any pressure—even if it means the carpet or floor, that’ll be enough.
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.