“That’s life: starting over, one breath at a time.”
The breath is everything. Or almost everything. The heart is in there, too.
Biologically speaking, when we stop breathing, we die.
Emotionally, psychologically, spiritually—it seems to be the same way.
The power in this knowledge, in what Sharon is calling our attention to, is tri-fold.
• You can restart anything, any project, task, or activity at any time.
• You don’t have to do anything “forever.” You just have to do it one breath at a time.
• Life is simpler than we make it out to be.
Have you ever said, “that took my breath away?”
It may have been fabulous or devastating—it doesn’t matter.
That moment of suspension, of breathlessness, allowed you to pause and possibly shift. At least, to reboot.
When it comes to simplifying your life, to getting and staying organized, it is essential that you anchor your behavior in your breath.
If you find yourself overwhelmed at any time in your process, you already the have the primary tool with which to reset yourself and begin again.
Take a deep breath and observe your belly rising and falling.
If you find that you’re watching the clock and becoming agitated or anxious, stop what you’re doing and breathe.
It is easy when scared to think that more action is what’s needed to correct course.
The truth is it’s often less action.
When I get frightened or anxious, I usually tense up, my breathing becomes shallower and I begin thinking of what I need to do to change things.
Sometimes, the thinking is an appropriate response.
Sometimes, it’s doing nothing.
Every time, the foundation of all of it is measured, mindful breathing.
Without the breath, my thinking will be colored by fear and I’m likely to try to scheme my way out of something I don’t want to happen or force my way into something I want to happen.
When I settle into my breath, it becomes easy to see that probably in this exact moment nothing else needs to happen.
And from there, I can begin to think rationally about next steps —without reacting or hastily acting.
If you feel bound up in a story that says stuff is all around you, stuff is everywhere and stuff has trapped you into a situation you are desperate to change, breathe.
Consider in this moment what actually needs to change?
What or where would be the best place to start?
First, you need to settle back into your body and your breath.
From there, you will instinctively know what the next right action will be.
One of the pioneers of professional organizing and productivity, Andrew Mellen is the best-selling author of Unstuff Your Life!. He travels the world speaking, teaching, and coaching individuals and global brands including the New York Mets, Genentech, American Express, Time, Inc. and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.