A Reflection On Pausing And Taking A Breather

Illustration by Olivia M Healy

Illustration by Olivia M Healy

Hi there,

Did you have a long day? Take a moment off.

Think of what made you smile today, and let gratitude touch your heart before it melts away somewhere in the stream of errant thoughts of mounting work and deadlines.

Pay attention to yourself.

Sit down. It’s okay if you’re in the middle of a crowded room, you don’t have to be alone to listen to the sound of your heartbeat. Tune in, and closely. Let it fill you up, until all you can hear is its steadiness. Remember how it always thumps the same old song, and although the tempo may change at times, it still is familiar and friendly.

Learn to find your calmness in the chaos.

Illustration and animation by Olivia M. Healy

Breathe in deeply. Be mindful of the sharpness in your chest when your lungs inflate to their fullest.  Taste the air on the tip your tongue before you let it out slowly. Luxuriate in the sensation of each breath.

Notice how it differs ever so slightly from the next. Remember that being alive is different from actually living – it’s the difference between careless I love yous and the unsaid ones in that rare hug when you feel like crushing someone else to your body until you can’t tell them apart from you.

Close your eyes and look for patterns in the blackness, colours and shapes and geometrical designs like you used to when you were a child. Open them slowly, let the light filter through your lashes before you take in your surroundings again.

Look at things. Really look at them.

Look at the dust motes in each individual moonbeam and how they dance in perfect harmony with each other. The curve of the road, and how the trees hug it sensuously as it moves out and away. Look for the warmth in someone else’s eyes, and make it your private patch of sunshine, just for a while. Remember how much of a difference it makes when you see something for what it is, instead of just looking at it. It’s like opening Pandora’s box.

Ease yourself slowly back into the world around you. Be gentle with yourself. You may not be breakable, but even shatterproof things need to be handled with care. Treat yourself with the same level of reverence you have for your contact lenses. People will only see you as clearly as they want, so the least you can do is love what you are, without glossing over the dents and scratches.

You are your own person. When everything else crumbles around you, that’s where you’ll get your strength from – your ability to ground yourself in an electric world that can self destruct from the smallest spark.

Did you have a long day? Maybe it’s not even evenfall yet.

Walk the distance, and go where you’re supposed to.

But don’t forget to take care of you.

Tanvi Deshmukh is a nineteen year old girl from Pune, India, with an affinity for words and books, cats and coffee, Nepalese food and hippie music, and the colour green (along with Oxford commas). Currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in English, she loves poetry, volunteers at an NGO and plays the keyboard in her free time. Along with devouring books of all kinds, unless of course, she’s in the middle of heated discussions on feminism, patriarchy, gay rights, or what to name the neighbour’s new dog.

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