Breathtaking, Photo by BradensEye

Hunt nothing shy of one-hundred percent electrified living. Find the icing on every cake. Weather permitting, perchance you can relate. I was designed to be frolicking in the sun, sand, surf, fresh airs, and sharing the sheets of someone’s king-size comfy bed. I seek to eke out numerous avenues allowing me to cash in on a vast array of such reasons I want to keep breathing. With every blink of an eye, just as each inhalation and exhalation, I tour my psyche to bring ooey gooey capacious calm. I want room at least the size of the Louvre to open myself to receiving their characteristics of deep life-fulfilling breaths. However, the same winds that fill me with joy can also wipe me clean of any rationale for caring in the face of my proportional dose of life-sucking tribulations.

Sometimes it’s the same moments that take your breath away that breathe purpose and love back into your life. ~Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

We build our reasons to breathe as readily as the option to stop. I’ve been over there. The remoteness of a void that tries to demand your last breath. Entangled with aching for salvation attention from God, a specific someone, stroking your wit’s end for a soothing touch by damn near anyone, your tumultuous insides bulging outside for the lack of patience to find any sign of seriously descent long term employment, reconciliation or reprieve. Clamoring with and against your own pride, you shudder failing to find the end of a rope tied to your very existence. Reasons to breathe in the hardest of times seem a distant memory from something more closely resembling a dream. But there’s always a way out of the no way out zone.

A vestige of something brighter may be all you need to perk up. You’ve been stripped of your beloved job, the man you fell in love with, and now nearly all your clothing as you set off to hurl yourself into the breaking waves. But the moment your toes touch the foamy bits rescinding, the sensation mixed with scent moves your mood washing away weeks of tears. Maybe bereft you can’t afford that trip to stare for hours underneath the dancing Antarctic Borealis brilliance, but your friend let you borrow his virtual reality headset to pretend you did. You’ve waited more than two years, two months, and two days to feel that first kiss rush again when an anthem echoes in your ears Everlong: “breathe out so I can breathe you in”. Suddenly a warmly welcome sunspot lights the floor at the feet of your cat napping in a Cirque du Soleil’s contortionist curl. It only takes one tiny scintillation to move us back to a finest reason to breathe.

This will work for horrid, as well tremendously brilliant, times in life. Breathing is the life force that catches one off guard, propels your limp body back into motion, or props your astoundingly elevated zeal unto space-referencing heights. One rejected you not only once, but twice, decades apart when you thought time and maturity had finally been on your side. Watching the display of drunkenness, followed by making out with a stranger on the dance floor, all before the new flavor of the month arrived to join the party was enough to get you breathing a sigh of long-forgotten relief. Then there’s an elusive one. That special someone drops your name on the guest list to listen to their philosophical lecture educating the world about the meaning of knowing one’s why. Indeed, another got married. But remember the day he agreed to stroll Central Park’s depths by your side for a couple hours until the very concept of unhappiness had melted from your belief system.

Let’s assume for a moment we get one shot at this living thing. Our strength of it will likely stage necessary moments requiring your use of the remarkable R’s: reboot, reframe, reset, and rewind. When kicked in the gut, broken-hearted, or experiencing brain-bending life buttons pushed to the brink of trying to steal your breath, a little kick in the pants for reworking can do the trick. A reboot is fully allowing yourself to start anew. Unplug all bullshit, drama, crazies, and unkindness to move into alignment with anything that barks up the greener grass trees. Reframing is about appeasing the flip side. Switch your commitment of sinking by claiming the helm to skipper your way to finding a new horizon. Take credit for the sleep you got (even if only a couple hours), a nice meal that topped your tummy off, the quiet roof over your head, the point of view that you could be without time to even think all of this through. When gearing up for a reset, maintenance is very applicable. Take stock in what you have done, all facets of victory and defeat. Here is a place for celebrating your gains and learning to leave or change what didn’t pan out. Finally, a rewind sets the shape of our plea. From an apology, we might need to give or bear, to a step or few backward to gander the landscape of the situation more thoroughly, these R’s can rev us back into a sweet breather state.

Interactions and conversations are riveting means to engage with reasons for breathing so well. The mad flurry of holiday winter winds and snow delayed the plane another three hours. By the time we all boarded what was now a near-midnight flight, a grumpy many simply wanted the ground beneath their feet to be their destination state as soon as possible. An hour out of landing, the captain’s voice shook dreary-eyed souls awake announcing preparations for serious airplane turbulence the remainder of our journey. While we bounced and were tousled about in a way I’d not felt in ages, my extremely tall elderly squeezed-in-the-middle-seat mate next to his dainty wife cracked his first gigantic grin of the ride. Putting his hands up in the air laughingly while clapping, his gleaming spectacles then caught my tranquil attention as he whispered to me he hadn’t had this much fun since the Air Force!

A requisite week of toiling away for long working hours, I treated myself last minute between next appointments to a solo cinema date. Only fifteen minutes to spare and the line for the parking garage backed up around the block, I tried multiple side streets until finding an opening as one car pulled away from a parking meter. It being Santa Monica, I knew I had to be topped up to capacity to stave a ticket. In my dash to make the movie start, I shoved my credit card in the meter, got it stuck, flagged a nearby parking cop down for aid to retrieve it, and winded up conversing I’d sourced a broken meter anyway, so free parking! Then the best seat left in the house was next to the handicap section. Just as the lights were dimming, two older women entered, one with a cane and the other a walker. The dark was a hard adjustment to the California sun it seemed, so I quietly stepped up to help them sit comfortably. Later, as the credits rolled, dear ‘Carley’ — the younger of the two — leaned in to start a conversation letting me know ‘Eleanor’ was ninety-five and had wanted to see a new film for a long time. When I shook both their hands, Eleanor pointedly piped in with a lot of opinions about how she liked the romance but didn’t understand why it was so loud. I exited the theatre with them while drinking in the sunset waves of orange and golden skies. Rejuvenated with the breath of my youth in comparison, I left grasping for the glory of an aim to be as feisty and able in my hopeful late years.

It’s so seldom what we sign up for is exactly what we get. Therefore, sidestep your stronghold to complaining about the friction and get on with the facts. It’s all in how you move through it. I’m one of many I know who make lists of our happy thoughts to keep them close when we need handy reminders in the midst of a torrential day. Many wear their reasons to breathe with an energetic personality and ongoing offers of hugs. There are those whose walls are adorned with upbeat affirmations or art claiming beauty and words flickering continual patterns of liveliness. Others advocate privately or socially to publicize through their actions zillions of references for breathing so well. Effusively exercising all your living can provide is the best breathing bump I know. Being is believing.

Surround yourself with ravishing reasons to breathe.

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