Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Letting Myself Breathe

Every year around the middle of the holiday season I start to feel a vague anxiety grow. Another year is about to turn, its history made; there’s no turning back. As much as I try to avoid it, making a list of New Year’s resolutions feels almost inevitable. I don’t like the idea of becoming a living cliché by succombing to this impulse, but, as they say, resistance is futile.

In recent years I’ve tried to keep the resolutions succinct and pragmatic. I’ve also tried to avoid the imperious voice of doom – I MUST do this or that OR ELSE. That kind of self-admonishment has not worked and I doubt that strategy is ever going to have any success. So this year I’m going to give myself the gift of one suggestion only. Perhaps if I can remember this one idea some of the time I’ll have a little more ease in life than in the past. Its worth a shot, anyway.

In 2009 I am going to try to remember to let myself breathe. I hope to allow myself the occasional indulgence in a pause, a respite, a few seconds off for good behavior. Relaxation is a skill I’ve been rather slow to develop, but I imagine that a break once in awhile might have some benefits. A breath now and then might help lower my stress level; maybe I’d be a more patient person, a more grounded musician, a more effective teacher. If I can remember to take a periodic breather (literally) perhaps my life would improve in ways I can’t even begin to fathom.

I’m looking to ’09 for a little bit of peace that little pieces of inactivity might engender. I’m guessing that sporadic periods of doing nothing might greatly improve the majority of the time when I’m doing something. Is it possible that letting myself breathe (at least some of the time) might lead to more success, more life satisfaction, more (dare I say it?) happiness?

I’m willing to take that on as an experiment this year.