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“As Long As You Are Breathing”

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As I went through my own struggle with my health issues this past year it was difficult to think of anything else except what I was going through. Bringing myself into a place of mindfulness that reminded me that I wasn’t living now and that I can’t ever get this time back took a conscious effort.

In Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn writes, “As long as you are breathing, there is more right with you than there is wrong, no matter how ill or how hopeless you may feel.”

He goes onto say:

“When we’re ill, we obsess about what’s going wrong in the body. We don’t think about the fact that since we’re alive virtually everything in the body is going right! And when we’re healthy, how often do we celebrate our good health? Hardly ever, for most of us.

So I’m going to suggest that you devote more mental space to celebrating and rejoicing in the ordinary things that are going right, and that you’re doing right, in your life.

-When you’re driving, notice that you’re driving with care and attention, and celebrate this. Say to yourself things like “Yay, me!”

-When you’re reading, pause once in a while and rejoice in the fact that you can read. (As a father whose oldest child is only just beginning to stumble through reading primers, I’m at the stage of recognizing how amazing this is.)

-Notice that you’re conscious. What an amazing thing that is! No one has the faintest idea what consciousness is — how matter interacting with matter can create this thing called “experience.” You’re a miracle!

-Pause and celebrate your good health. Say “thank you” to your body. If you’re in bad health, rejoice in the fact that your body is forever trying to heal itself, and that most things in your body are in fact functioning.

-Celebrate having access to clean drinking water, clean air, food.

-Celebrate having clothing and having possessions. If you’re poor and live in the developed world, you’re probably still richer than 90% of the world’s population.

-Celebrate family and friends.

-Celebrate the fact that you’re alive.

-Celebrate that you’re able to celebrate.