One of the things I learned during the years I lived in Japan was how to survive the crushing press of humans while riding the subway. In a city as densely populated as Tokyo, you face crowds everywhere you go, and the subways swarm with passengers. During rush hour, there are attendants with white courtesy gloves who politely shove people into the already-packed trains so that they won’t get caught in the closing doors. More than once, I found myself lifted off the ground, squeezed between bodies, scarcely able to breath.

I quickly realized that the thing to do was inflate my lungs all the way, before the doors closed. To use my elbows to box out a space for myself so that even when the crowd pressed in on me, I’d be all right. After a lifetime of living small, I learned to take up as much space as I could.

My natural inclination, as an introverted anxiety-sufferer, is to shrink in on myself when life is difficult. We do it when we feel doubt or shame or fear or guilt. We stuff our needs and hopes way down into our backpack and hope it fits into the overhead bin.

I’m not here to fit into some cramped little bin, and neither are you. We’re here to fully occupy our space in this world. Every bit of it.

Here are some questions to get you in the grateful space:

  • What or who helps to create breathing room in your life?
  • What does it feel like when you allow yourself to inhabit your body and mind without judgment?
  • What needs are you stifling and how can you give them space?

Get printable full-size image, here.

Until next week,

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