Learning to Breathe

There are many times when I feel so ridiculously caught up in work and school and stress and whatnot that I drown.

I drown in the sea of homework, tests, quizzes, obligations, extracurricular activities, etc. I even drown in my own writing – because all of a sudden even the things I love to do, like reading and writing poetry, seem like work.

I’m sure I’m not the only one in the world who feels this way. But I think I’ve figured out a sort of solution.

You have to learn to breathe underwater.

It’s not easy to do (it’s anything but easy!), though it’s very easy to say. But there are different ways of doing it, and I think if you can find what’s right for you, it really helps. A lot.

I started this thing a while back that I like to call my Journal of Inspiration. It’s basically a collection of things that inspire me or brighten my mood – pictures, poems, Dove wrappers with inspirational messages, etc. Any little scrap of motivation goes in my Journal.

On the very first page is my oath:

The Oath

1. No worry or fear is to enter this notebook.

2. This notebook is meant solely for non-academic purposes.

3. I am not allowed to use pencil in this notebook because I should be AM unafraid of making mistakes.

4. I promise to write what resides in the very depths of my heart.

It might seem silly, but this is what lets me breathe underwater. Today I sat at the kitchen table and taped a picture of a flying baby in my Journal. Underneath I wrote, “If a flying baby isn’t inspirational, I don’t know what is.”

I have poems by Shel Silverstein and Rudyard Kipling in there, along with some of my own poems. I even taped Halls cough drop wrappers in there – because there’s “a pep talk in every drop.”

I guess learning to breathe means finding something that you really love to do and that makes you smile. For me, it’s taping things into my Journal and flipping through it on gloomy days – days when I don’t feel motivated to work on my manuscript or start hacking away at that mountain of homework.

Obviously none of the work I have to do is going to go away. But I think motivation is important – and my Journal serves not only to motivate me, but to remind me why I work so hard for the things I love. I work on my manuscript because writing is my passion. I work hard in school because I value education and want to be more knowledgeable.

And I think sometimes we ignore that little voice that screams “Don’t give up! You can do it!” But if we can find something that makes us smile, that allows us to breathe underwater when we’re drowning in work, we’ll be much happier. And I think we’ll find more meaning in the things we work so hard for in life.

4 Replies to “Learning to Breathe”

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