You Just Have to Keep Breathing

Take a deep breath. Focus on your breath. Breath.

So have advised everyone from Eastern spiritual gurus to basketball coaches before the big game. Focusing on the breath, they say, grounds you in the present moment. Easier said than done, but I try to follow this wisdom as much as I can.

My brother pointed me to a scene from the 2000 movie Cast Away that articulates this spirit. For those who haven't seen it, Tom Hanks' character is the sole survivor of a plane crash that leaves him stranded on an island for four years. He survives thanks to some supplies in the plane and more importantly the memory of his girlfriend Kelly with whom he was in love. One day, the tide washes ashore the remnants of a portapody which Hanks uses to build a raft and ultimately get rescued.

He returns to Memphis to the shock of his friends and family who had held a funeral for him years ago. His girlfriend had mourned but then married another man and had children. In the below three minute clip Hanks talks about what he did, the sadness of losing Kelly all over again, and how he needs to just "keep breathing." Here's a shortened clip with only the end part.

There's elemental wisdom in those last words: "And I know what I have to do: I have to keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise, and who knows what the tide could bring?"

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