Just Breathe . . .
Many years ago, I was approached by the East Lothian Courier for an ‘interview.’ I was the new boy in town and a few paragraphs from me, basically about me would fill a few column inches of space. If I remember correctly it was one of those question/answer pieces; the kind where you are asked what your favourite meal/whisky/tobacco is etc. Clearly if I was to undergo a similar exercise today, I’m sure my answers would be a tad different from the ones I had chosen aeons ago. Apart from one that is. It was put to me by the roving reporter what my perfect day might consist of and I replied — sitting in front of a peat fire, with a broken phone, (no mobiles in those days), a malt whisky and a good book. As a man of simple pleasures that would be bliss. What would yours be?
Climbing a hill and admiring the views? Watching a good film (well you wouldn’t watch a bad one, would you?). Attending the theatre, visiting a shopping centre, going to the gym or watching sport on the TV — of course we are limited as to what we can do and where we can go during this pandemic but there are still many pastimes which can take us out of ourselves and give us pleasure. However that be good and true but what sometimes hinders us from relaxing is that nagging demonic voice, the one which whispers in our ear that we should always be busy. I’m sure it’s not just the Presbyterians who suffer from this dilemma.
I am tempted to say that what many people seek is that quiet place — the space where they can be themselves without being judged or threatened. It’s called being at peace with yourself and with others. Nevertheless it can be very elusive; more so when we are restricted as to where we can go and who we can see.
Giving ourselves permission to enjoy this freedom, which is ours, is vitally important for the well-being, not just as individuals but for society and should never be taken for granted. So next time you feel the need to unwind because everything is getting on top of you, switch off your phone, kick off your shoes — unless you’re going for a walk outside — and breathe. You’ll be in good company.