Just remember to breathe

We knew what to expect, didn’t we? Donald Trump is a street brawler from Queens, turned Manhattan mobster, and he certainly acted the part in the first so-called presidential debate. It was, as everyone bemoaned on the morning after, a disgrace, a national embarrassment, a total sh*t-show.

Well, I have a bright idea. 

The media should stop enabling Trump’s bullying. If he can’t participate in a civilized exchange, fine! Let him and Biden each have their own 90-minute slot to discuss their vision for the country with a moderator (or a panel). 

Let Trump stand in the spotlight all by himself, and put his incoherent, racist, misogynist, arrogant, moronic self on full display. 

And then let Biden do the same. He may not be the sharpest tool in the box, but he looks like an angel next to the orange demon. We’ll take him!

I am straining to reach for a thread of positivity to catch hold of today. I’ve been awake for almost 12 hours, and I’m still straining. 

One thing I know is that for us human herd animals, emotions are contagious and self-reinforcing. One smile leads to another; but the same is true for frowns too. 

When we are constantly bombarded with negative emotions, via the media and each other, the negativity quickly builds into a vortex of toxic energy that whips over the entire psychic landscape like a tornado, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake.

We have to resist this! This is what Meg Wheatley means when she calls on us to become “warriors for the human spirit,” creating “islands of sanity and calm” in the midst of all the chaos of our time.

This morning I was distressed as I settled on to my yoga mat, in need of the able physical/mental/emotional massage of Jurian Hughes’ gentle yoga class. 

Come back to your breath, Jurian reminded the 80+ people who joined the virtual class. No matter how out of control things seem, one thing you can control is your breath.

And by the end of the hour of deep breathing and slow deliberate movement, I was calm again. Not happy; not buoyant; but calm and ready to face my day.

We can’t control what others do. We can make suggestions, and here’s mine: next time give each man his own stage, or at least turn off the damn microphone so they can only be heard one at a time! 

But on a day-to-day basis all we can do is to try to remain anchored in the present moment of our ordinary, physical lives, which for most of us continue on their own rhythms no matter what the clowns on stage are doing. 

Try not to let your active imagination trigger your fight-or-flight fear reflex over something that is happening far away, or that might happen in the uncertain future. 

When you resist the tornado of fear that threatens to send you spinning into panic or depression over something you can’t control, you are doing your part as a “warrior of the human spirit,” holding your positive vibration steady for everyone.

This matters. It matters for you, and it matters for everyone around you. It matters for the psychic energy of our whole human tribe, and by extension for the health and wellbeing of our entire Gaian web of life. 

For all of our sakes, please—remember to breathe.

Leave a comment


  1. Hi Jennifer:

    Just got an email announcing your latest blog post, which is insightful and strong as usual.

    And of course, I had to give you a link to help support your title!


    (I linked to the page that focuses on the relationship between inner change – changing oneself – and outer change – changing the world. These two are, of course, ultimately inseparable)

    • Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D.

       /  October 1, 2020

      Thanks so much, Don! Absolutely, my whole thrust in the past few years has been “aligning the personal, political and planetary for a thriving future.” It’s the only way we’ll get there–one breath at a time!

  2. Penny Gill

     /  October 1, 2020

    yes, yes….we each must take up this daily discipline of nourishing a calm space within and around us. Without that, nothing else is possible, nothing sane or healing. Thank you!

    • Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D.

       /  October 1, 2020

      Yes…this practice is so important. There is a tendency to see self-care as “self-indulgent” or as avoidance of reckoning with the pain of the world, but it really is as inward/outward in nature as breath itself.

  3. Gerry

     /  October 2, 2020

    I like your suggestions for future “debates”.

    And thank you for reminding me about the value of meditation. I needed that. I have been finding it all overwhelming.

    • Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D.

       /  October 3, 2020

      It is overwhelming, Gerry. Meditation and yoga–quieting the mind, activating the body in a calm way–are essential tools to help us navigate through this turbulence. Wishing you an even keel!


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