Something happened last week that pulled me up out of my ordinary, every day world and made me take stock and afterwards it got me wondering are we all too caught up in the race of life that we forget to savour the journey in our rush to the finish line?
With our heads full of dates and people and places to be, our bags crammed with stuff to do lists, our email boxes full and our voicemails overflowing, is it any wonder that we cannot hear through all the noise or see past the overwhelming tasks that confront us.
Our minds are teeming, filled with the minutiae of our lives, shuffling our priorities about constantly to address the need that seems most urgent at any given time. We owe it to ourselves to seek out a little quiet time to recharge those batteries and simply be, not do or think but see and feel.
Sometimes we need to step back, breathe deep and give ourselves the head space to think, something which, when confronted with all the extraneous white noise, is fiendishly hard to do.
We are all familiar with the expression “breathing space” – an opportunity to pause, relax, or decide what to do next. The term originates from the 1600s and was used to describe packed public gatherings where there literally was little breathing space so tightly packed were the people. In modern times it is used far more frequently to describe our need for space in a more internalised rather than externalised way. Where once our physical safety may have given rise for the need of breathing space now it is our mental and emotional wellbeing that is at stake. It is a concept our ancestors would struggle to comprehend given that most of us are not grappling with overwhelming religious or moral dilemmas.
Life today is complicated and fast. We are reaping the whirlwind of modern technology. In so many ways modern life is safer and better than humans have ever known but it comes with its own inherent dangers. Only we can take the decision to step back and relax. Modern life will never encourage us to do so, the fear of missing out or of failure to achieve the goals set for us by others or ourselves, will always drive us on if we let it.
It is up to us to find our own breathing space. So take some time for yourself. Step out of the race for a moment and enjoy just being instead of doing.
No one has ever wished they had worked more when they are on their death beds.
Leisure by William Henry Davies (1871-1940)
What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass, Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight, Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance, And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.