Those of us of a certain age might remember the TV program Tales of the Unexpected where tarot cards revolved around on the screen at the opening and closing credits, with the theme music for the series written by composer Ron Grainer.
In a western (euro-centric) tradition, Tarot cards depict the archetypal journey and stages that human beings encounter in life; unexpected trials, opportunities and ‘hidden treasures’ amidst the constant cycle of change and transition.
When you consider the last couple of years who could have imagined there would be a global epidemic and lockdown – affecting each individual on the planet, and creatures in nature. And who might have anticipated that this’d then be swiftly followed by increasing tensions across Europe and rest of the world, heightened climate change, energy crisis and soaring cost of living.
Every day, we are bombarded in our feeds and in the news with a cacophony of political posturing that can be hard to make sense of, impacting and affecting us both consciously and unconsciously; a critical pinch point seems not far off…
We are faced with apparent senseless chaotic movements, twists and turns, as the card of the Wheel of Fortune stops in front of us, with the reminder of the inexorable flow of the cycle of life that constantly brings us round and round; what was once at the top will at another time be at the bottom of the wheel. If we identify with the periphery of the wheel, we will get disorientated and become sucked into the turmoil of what is going on.
It’s natural to feel powerless in the face of so many challenges that are out of our control, and to feel that there is nothing we can do. If we are also depressed or have other mental health concerns, these feelings will be heightened and exacerbated. Is there anything we can do to mitigate the experience? What might give us the best chance of staying anchored to the center of the wheel – the eye of the storm – rather than at the periphery, which will turn no matter what we think, do or say?.
Breath. Breath is the only constant; the only thing that is both uniquely ours and yet collectively shared with all living things. It is also one of the few things that we can actually have control over. The means may vary – from mindful awareness, or simply counting the rhythm – find what works for you. But breath brings us right to the here and now – it becomes the unchanging anchor amidst whatever storms are going on.
So, the invitation here, is to pause this very moment and just revel in the blessing that is your own breath.
Breathing in, become present to your self.
Breathing out, become present to your self.
pause in that still point between; be present
Breath anchors us to the ‘now’; the only moment that ‘Is’ – whatever else, is either past or yet to occur. And whether your breath be slow, full, quick, or shallow, it belongs uniquely to you. It is the thread of the song of your life; it is the symphony of being.
Mental Health Support
If you’re struggling to cope we work with Help Musicians‘ Music Minds Matter, which offers a free and confidential 24/7 mental health support line.
PRS for Music members have access to information, advice, listening, emotional support and signposting to additional services. It can really help to have a chat about how you’re feeling so just give Music Minds Matter a call – anytime day or night – on 0808 802 8008 or visit https://explore.musicmindsmatter.org.uk/.