The Pause That Refreshes - December 30, 2020

Carl reminds us that in times of stress and challenge, taking a deep breath allows us to pause long enough to see the situation differently.

Posted
December 30, 2020
Graphic that reads Pause, Relax, Take a Deep Breath

The Pause That Refreshes - December 30, 2020

Carl reminds us that in times of stress and challenge, taking a deep breath allows us to pause long enough to see the situation differently.

Posted
December 30, 2020
JFS Friends -
Recently I was catching up with an old friend and we ended up laughing about all the ups and downs we have shared in each other’s lives.  She reminded me of a time a few years ago when I was very anxious and upset about a number of things that seemed to be going wrong. She recalled how I had spent several minutes ranting and raving about all of the things that I felt needed to be fixed and then I had looked up at her expectantly waiting for some sage advice. Her response at the time was, “Before we get to all that – I am more concerned that you don’t seem to be breathing. Before we go any further – can you take a couple of deep breaths.” As usual, my friend was able to go straight to the heart of the matter and – in her own special way – get me to step back and pause long enough to see the situation differently.
This anecdote reminded me of a famous quote from Pastor Harry Emerson Fosdick:
"No one can get inner peace by pouncing on it."

Many of us would consider ourselves Type A – competitive, workaholics with a sense of urgency to get things done. While this works well for us in many situations – it is less helpful when we are trying to relax and unwind or get a fresh perspective on a situation. As Fosdick reminds us – we can’t pounce on inner peace – we have to relax into it with a different mindset and often taking a few deep breaths can be a great way to start.
The Dutch author Esther “Etty” Hillesum whose writing chronicled the persecution of the Jewish people in Amsterdam during the German occupation advises us:
"Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths."

For those of us who are Type A and accustomed to pushing harder and powering through this can seem counterintuitive but there are times that you need to slow down in order to go faster.
The Vietnamese Buddhist mon, Thich Nhat Hanh teaches:
“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.”

In the coming days as you face the challenges and obstacles that are part of life – I hope that you will find time to breathe, relax, smile and gain some perspective.
The famous jazz musician Miles Davis reminds us that it is not quantity of our actions but the quality that counts in the end:
“You have to know 400 notes that you can play, then pick the right four.”

Take a deep breath, center yourself and choose carefully.

Three Stones that say Breath, Relax, and Smile

Take care,
Carl Josehart's signature

Carl E. Josehart, MSW (he/him/his)

Chief Operating Officer

Related Resources & News

A central location for you to be empowered with knowledge.