In American culture, it is a virtue to be busy. If you tell a friend you are busy, they will respond with their “to do” list and you can bet it's bigger than yours. It takes a big effort to step away from this tendency and take a moment to breathe, to put aside everything and be present in the moment. Last week, I went to a coffee shop before going to teach my class. After ordering, I had about half an hour before I needed to be in my classroom. I sat down at a table outside and pulled out a notebook. I checked my watch and took a moment to breathe. Then I began to write, all the while being conscious of the time. Taking that moment to sit and write reminded me of how long a minute really is, if I am paying attention to it. That single half hour seemed to stretch for hours.
Often as I am running errands, at work, or hanging out with friends, time seems to slip away. I am so involved in whatever I am doing that the day seems to be over in a flash. Sitting down with coffee and a notebook helped me to take a moment to breathe, being fully aware of every second as it ticked away.
I finished my coffee, put away my notebook, and went to class, knowing that sometimes even thirty minutes can seem like a life time. If you are present.
Do you ever take a moment to breathe?