Choosing to Breathe

All throughout the day, life happens. It is in those moments where who we really are shines through. We can choose a number of things at any and every crossroad that comes before us. We can choose to let these things define us, or we can choose to rise above.

This week we had a training "Super Week" at work, and one of the classes offered was about stress, and how to manage it. I skipped on that class, but the rest of my team all took it. There was a stress calculator where you got to tally all of your life events from the past 2 years and see how stressed you were, then decide how you would manage any new stress that popped up. One of my buddies decided that meditation would be his stress relieving tool of choice, a fine decision if I do say so myself.

I had several moments today where I had to consciously remind myself to choose to take a breath and to come back to center. Crazy drivers who weren't paying attention, and drivers who were not responsive to indicator lights. People who don't know how to park - the ones who make that last spot left a challenge to take, as well as the ones who come later, making getting back into your vehicle a near impossibility. Then there's the children who can't hold something and walk at the same time, then when you slow down to make it easier for them - they slowed down too.

Mind you, these are all little things. These are the things you practice with. It's often thought that 'practice makes perfect', but as my swimming coach always said: "Practice makes permanent." If you practice a certain way for long enough - that is how you'll remember it. So if you practice with all of these little things, things that often pile up to insurmountable heights, when a big thing comes along - you'll know how to handle it.

Today, tragedy struck my friends apartment. It burned. As it's told - the apartment is gone. No one got hurt thankfully, but there were memories that were lost. This friend was not the first to be struck by the devastating effects of fire this year. Another friends' house burned severely due to, what's believed to be, an electrical issue. And yet another whose house was lost to the Valley Fire in Lake County. I pray that these are the only fires for the next year, and beyond, that affect the people that I care about.

There's a popular quote that goes around from time to time:

"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."

- Wayne Dyer

I get that not everyone believes in karma, but that's beside the point. Regardless of your world view, what this goes to say is that - it's not on you what happens to you, but it is on you for how you respond. Will you choose to be crafted into a fine sword by the forces of life, or will you choose to be crumbled instead?

Tomorrow is always a new day, and it's okay if you didn't make it out of today in one piece. Making the simple decision to continue breathing is not an easy one all of the time, and that's okay. Making the decision to do better tomorrow is often all it takes to set you up for a better day, and that's okay. How you choose to go forth is okay. We are each entitled to our own approach to life.

Breath is mine.