Peace Is Just A Breath Away

Oh what would we do without Advil? It has become the survival ingredient for remodeling—that and a back brace! I was counting how many houses I have redone over the last 25 years and this is house number ten. No wonder it seems like I’ve been here before—I have! Only this time I’m a little older and get tired a little faster but I’m NOT old! Really, I’m not.

When you think about it—it’s all relative. Not old compared to what? An elephant? An old-growth forest? Honestly, I’m not an old person nor am I a young person, I’m just an in-between old age and young age person. I know some people refer to that as middle age, but frankly, I detest that term. It sounds so…frumpy.

I’ve sprained my back remodeling and I’m wearing a back brace. That’s not frumpy is it? I hope not. In the meantime, I’m concentrating on resting my in-between-age back and catching up on my reading. I’m reading “The Tao of Inner Peace”, by Diane Dreher, and she is reminding me to enjoy the journey, go with the flow, and savor every bite. I’m trying to apply this to sanding and stripping floors.

Maybe I could approach this with the same devotion as in the “Karate Kid”. Wax on. Wax off. Prayerfully and respectfully, knowing that I’m building a relationship with my house. “Be mindful” is a theme in Taoism. Open to the present for that is all we have to live in. We can’t live in the future and we can’t live in the past.

Create balance. Exercise the yin and the yang, the repose and action. Whenever I start a project it is easy for me to get out of balance. The action side of things starts to gain momentum and then I usually end up being forced to balance my ambition out with more restful activities because I wear myself out. This is forced balance.

Taoism is encouraging a more mindful, choice of living in balance. Really, this seems to be one of our biggest struggles in the 21st century. We are perpetually on the go. We are teaching our kids to do the same thing. Summer break from school is now filled with constant activities and day camps. It seems that we have to be constantly doing, producing, learning, or moving.

Just like children need time to play and do nothing, so do we as adults need time to just Be. Not time spent in front of the television, but time to daydream, wander, look at the bugs in the garden, sip a cup of tea, and catch up with ourselves. The same kind of things we used to do as children that when the adults asked us what we’d been doing we’d just say, “Oh, nothing”.

Concentrating on our breath can bring us into the present. Thich Nhat Hanh, in “The Miracle of Mindfulness” talks about breath bridging the mind and body, bringing both into a state of peace and calm. Meditation is a practice that teaches us to focus on our breath and breathing in peace, joy, and love.

From a Christian perspective, it is the perfect way to focus on being filled with the love of God and releasing all of your anxieties, worries, and cares. Jesus invited us to take on his yoke for it is easy and it is light. To wear the yoke of Christ is be in partnership with the creative force of the universe. How can we fail when we are teamed up with the Christ power?

Beginning each day with quiet time to read, pray, and meditate helps to balance out our busy-ness. It creates a stable center that we can live our lives from. Stopping during the day when you feel like you are losing your center to concentrate on taking a few deep breaths, letting go of your stress and worry, can help you to remember that you are not walking alone.

Our breath can become a means of prayer where we invite the Spirit of peace, joy, and love into our hearts with each in breath and then release our burdens with each out breath. A sense of God’s presence and care is never more than a breath away. Breathe in God’s love, breathe out your cares. Peace is just a breath away.