Breathe // Itumeleng Baloyi’s antidote to tumultuous and anxiety inducing seasons

We’ve been through something like this before. Chaos, instability, anger, collective anxiety, and fear are things we have experienced before due to a myriad of historical events that left the world shaken; and some that still have us on edge. Despite it all, in attempts to balance the scale, the universe has always countered seasons of turmoil with seasons of hope and jubilation. While this season seems dark, what we can be sure of – based on past experiences – is that this too shall pass. I interviewed artist, muse, meditation and breathwork practitioner, energy healer, and self-published author; Itumeleng Baloyi to unpack this topic further.

“The way I look at it is that there is a season/cycle for everything. There is duality in everything, in order to maintain balance. And I think that if we saw ourselves as part of nature and the universe as [a] whole, instead of separate from it or something [as something that is] just there for us to observe, there wouldn’t be so much chaos and disconnect from our true nature. We would be able to see the similarities we share with the wonders of the world, because we are just that, a wonder. If you look at a tree, it is lush and thrives during the spring and summer seasons – possibly even bearing fruit. Yet, before that, it is stripped naked. Left bare. It never panics and stops being a tree through all of this …” – Itumeleng

Before the highly-dreaded COVID-19 virus, some sense of stress, fear, anger, and anxiety was already building up among people in our society. In 2019 South African citizens were faced with increases in the cost of living, increasing numbers in a national crisis of violence against women and children, xenophobic attacks, and an unstable economy.  The season of turmoil seems to have not ended as we continue struggle with panic, fear, and anxiety. It is important to note, however, that to successfully get through this it is important that we pull ourselves towards ourselves and try to maintain some sense of calm. It sounds contradictory right – remaining calm when everything around us is anything but calm. However contradictory and placating it may sound to constantly hear the importance of remaining calm in trying times, being calm does more for one’s well-being and our society’s well-being than panic and fear does.

Itumeleng, also known as ‘Solar’, offers a solution to the chaos; breathe. Though this may not directly deal with the issues we face, and may not be the answer that everyone wants to hear, it offers one the opportunity to maintain some sense of calm and peace through the storm – allowing one to act and make decisions with clarity and a rational mind void of fear and panic.

“Stress certainly has a major effect on one’s well being. The world we live in is constantly distracting us from paying attention to ourselves because we are always consuming things outside of ourselves and not really paying attention to or investigating what our internal world is saying or trying to say to us. We are addicted to being busy, or even looking busy, that we have become far removed from stillness and peace, even deeming it as something impossible for us. That said, my opinion on maintaining and protecting ones inner peace begins with stillness. Making time to be still. That can translate into starting by dedicating at least 5 mins of your day to paying attention to your breath. Mindful or conscious breathing is an amazing yet simple inner-peace practice because when you solely focus on your breath, you cannot focus on anything else. Try it now. Take a slow and intentional deep breath in. Pause. And then exhale slowly out with a deep sigh. Do this three times and notice that your mind did not focus on anything but breathing during this period. This is the best way to be still, just breathe.” Itumeleng

Of course meditation is not the only way to find some sense of calm in the midst of a chaotic period. The most important thing is that each person finds a healthy way to maintain their sanity while we wait for the tumultuous season to pass. We will make it, and we will come out more resilient and stronger than ever. You know that we have been here before. This chaos, uncertainty, anger, collective fear and anxiety is nothing new, and in attempts to balance the scale, the universe will counter this season of turmoil with seasons of hope and jubilation. Though it may seem dark and bleak and the overall impact and consequences this season will have on the world as we have come to know it are still uncertain – I implore you to remember the characteristics of resilience, strength, and adaptability that we have developed through our past experiences. It is my hope that in remembering what we have been through we will  all hold on to the hope that this too shall pass.

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