Sometimes I forget to breathe.
Confession time–I've got a bit of a Superwoman complex. If there's someone in need (including a small yappy dog) I think I'm the one to rescue. This “complex” has led to an absolutely crazy schedule, one in which at the end of the day I'm too depleted to do anything but flop on the couch and watch re-runs of Two and a Half Men.
Yeah, it's that sad. (Though I saw the new season opener that featured a naked Ashton Kutcher, and that wasn't bad.)
I haven't done any writing, or even rewriting, in close to a month. At that realization, I feel panic tightening my chest with a band of stress that's become a familiar presence. I miss my writing, and can't get to it–other people's emergencies are in the way.
Here's what I tell my clients having a panic attack:
Breathe. Feel the air moving in and out of your lungs. Be in now, feel the sensations all around you. Ground yourself right where you are and know you are okay and have everything you need. Let the emergencies going on around you, go on without you.
Mindfulness. It's a practice, a way to de-stress in the shortest possible time. Because no matter how bad things are, each separate moment of time they simply aren't that terrible. It's the monkeymind projecting, anticipating, constructing, rehearsing and mental grinding that are this Superwoman's kryptonite–and may be for you too.
Another thing I do to be mindful is watch the sunset as many nights as I can with Renaissance Man. The other night we hopped in the car and drove up the mountain, parked our beach chairs on the edge of the road, sipped wine out of canteens, and I got this shot:
Stop what you're doing, and breathe.
Take it in.
It's all okay.
- Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans. -John Lennon