September 27, 2011 Daily Reflections

Walking Toward Serenity

“When I was tired and couldn’t concentrate, I used to fall back on an affirmation toward life that took the form of simple walking and deep breathing. I sometimes told myself that I couldn’t do even this — that I was to weak. But I learned that this was the point at which I could not give in without becoming still more depressed.

“So I would set myself a small stint. I would determine to walk a quarter of a mile. And I would concentrate by counting my breathing – – say, six steps to each slow inhalation and four to each exhalation. Having done the quarter-mile, I found that I could go on, maybe a half-mile more. Then another half-mile, and maybe another.

“This was encouraging. The false sense of physical weakness would leave me (this feeling being so characteristic of depressions). The walking and especially the breathing were powerful affirmations toward life and living and away from failure and death. The counting represented a minimum discipline in concentration, to get some rest from the wear and tear of fear and guilt.”

LETTER, 1960

from “As Bill Sees It”
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