So, the last few weeks have been stressful. As in, I stopped seeing myself as a human being, and instead was just a ball of aches and anxiety. When it felt like I was going to explode into a spattering of useless futility, I found myself repeating a mantra in my head, over and over, until I started listening to it. As with all my mantras, it started as a lengthy reminder to not look at the WHOLE list of things I had to do and, seeing the sheer enormity of it all, succumb to the urge to weep and give in to my own mounting sense of despair, but instead, to look at one thing, and one thing only. “Start with this, the top of the list, work on it. No, stay on THIS thing. Don’t look at the next until you’re done with THIS thing. There, you’re done. Close your eyes. Take a moment. Breathe. Now you can go on to the next. No, don’t look at the others. Just the NEXT thing. There. You’re done. Close your eyes, and in the space between this thing and that thing, take a moment, and breathe.”

Yes. I really did think all of that to myself. With each task, the breathing came a little easier. A friend stepped in and helped, and it got a little easier. And the mantra got shorter and shorter until it was just a wisp of a reminder of the hopelessness I had felt at the beginning.

And slowly, this writer emerged from her ball, breathed, then wrote. Well, I edited my novel, really.

So here it is, in all its simplicity:


The photo is of a log I came across hiking the Audobon trails with the kids the weekend before last. It helped me to think of a peaceful moment, and this came to mind. My daughter was laughing wildly and my son, on my back, cooing at a crow passing by overhead.

And, breathe.

2 thoughts on “Breathe

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