And breathe…just breathe.
Oh, breathe…just breathe.”
Many years ago, in the midst of an emotional maelstrom so overwhelming that I spent a large part of my days and nights curling into a ball and gasping for breath between sobs, I met a young man, probably in his early 20s, who gave me one of the most life-changing pieces of wisdom I have ever received. This young Buddha–disguised–as–electronica–DJ said that when you are so overwhelmed that you don’t know what to do, find something that you can do and do it with everything you have inside you – even if that thing is just to breathe.
I find myself leaning heavily on this life raft, as I swirl in the sea of violence happening all around us in recent days.
I went under for a bit, swallowing murky seawater, clawing for purchase that I couldn’t find. I was sinking – arms and legs bound by helplessness, the bitter ashes of my own privilege choking me further, turning to paste and making it impossible to articulate my horror, my heartache, my outrage.
I am slowly beginning to resurface. I am still treading water, but my head is now above the surface. And I can breathe. While I am working out how to make a difference, I can continue to focus on my breath to calm my panic and sooth the jangled edges.
Please take a moment and breathe with me.
Are you, too, overwhelmed? Have you found a way to be present within the chaos? Please share your thoughts in the comments. I would love to have a discussion with you. We can effect change if we don’t allow this to pass into obscurity.
Be on the lookout for the upcoming Go Deeper podcast episode “#27: The World’s Gone Mad”. We will be overviewing (with compassion for all) the recent tragedies involving the deaths of Alton Stirling and Philandro Castille, as well as the 5 police officers killed in Dallas, offering it within the larger framework of violence occurring globally. Not content to leave it as a cry for change, we will be offering concrete suggestions for how to work towards being an agent of that change.
I’d like to share this beautifully articulated video by Kevin Peterson of the YouTube channel “the1janitor”. In it, he offers suggestions on how white people can help combat racism (though, amazingly, it goes even further than that, becoming a list of actionable steps anyone can take to fight any sort of injustice).