When the Universe hits you over the head…

It’s probably time to pay attention.

It’s no secret that this time of year is exceptionally busy and stressful for me. The return to classes, the realization that another summer has passed, and that I have not accomplished nearly as much as I wanted to by September, grant deadlines, etc. etc. etc. I could go on – but you all have your own challenges and stressful periods in life and, well, this is just mine. This is how it is – and how it will be – if I want to continue to have this life that I really do love.

And yet, how I approach this time of year is one thing that I can change, and that I want to change. Almost every year I vow to do better, to take time for myself, to remember to find the spaces of peace in the chaos of daily life.

And every year, I abandon that, often without even really trying. Despite my best intentions, I just return to the cycle of overwork, of impending burnout, and of crushing fatigue.

This year, though, I think the Universe is getting fed up with me.

Case in point: I have seen more references to breath in things I’ve been reading than I would have thought possible. Poems, blog posts, newsletters, tea bags.

Yes, tea bags. Evidence from last night’s:

Mmm, hmm.

Then there was the newsletter I read on Sunday, which had the sentence, “I hope you’re breathing.”

The clincher, though, was 5AM Joel’s email yesterday, which included a beautiful poem by john roedel. I won’t paste the whole thing here (the link below links to the whole poem) but it included this part that jumped right out at me…

there is no yesterday in your lungs
there is no tomorrow there either

there is only now
there is only inhale
there is only exhale
there is only this moment

there is only breath

and in that breath
you can rest while your
heart and head work
their relationship out.

john roedel

So, yeah. Message received, Universe, thanks. I’m going to try this breathing thing and see if it helps smooth out the transition back into the chaos of the academic year. I’ll let you know how it’s going – I know the best laid plans and all that. But, well, when how you’ve always done it doesn’t really work, maybe it’s time to consider a new approach.

The world is so heavy right now. Perhaps breathing is the best place to start… I hope you take the time to breathe, too, to try to shed some of the burdens we’re all carrying. I’ll be breathing right along with you.