Give Me Breath, or Give Me Death: 4 Ways to Navigate a Quickening World

After weeks of anticipation, I got the call.

It was an opportunity to be part of an event I had been seeking for 5 years, and the caller had the contact information I needed:

“Timo, my friend, do you have pen and paper for this number?”

“Yes, yes. Let me grab a pen real quick.”

“No, no, no. There’s no need to be quick!”

His words dropped into the depths of my soul and detonated. Years of automatically inserting “quick” and “real quick” into my sentences surrendered to his command. My life’s consistent false sense of urgency exposed.

The lesson he imparted immediately assimilated: There is no need for me to be quick.

There’s no need for you to be quick either.

Being quick causes accidents. Rushing through life costs us financial, emotional, physical and emotional tolls.

What can we do?

Give me breath, or give me death!

In scuba diving, your time underwater is impacted by your breath: Breathe easy, more time. Breathe heavy, less time. Hold your breath, die.

On our way to scuba dive the Spiegel Grove in Key Largo, Florida, the dive guide told us a tragic tale about a group of divers that died within the wreck the week before.

They penetrated the interior of the 510ft long vessel and found themselves in a dark room with a single port-hole.

Disoriented, the divers lost track of the room’s exit.

Panicked to find the exit, their desperate finkicks kicked up silt. The room went dark.

Blind and lost, they forgot about the one element they had control of: Their Breath.

Quickly sucking wind, oxygen levels diminished. The divers drowned.

3 Minutes to Midnight

Time is running out in our time-oriented world.

Succumbing to the powers of the macro issues keeps us in an existential crisis. We must be quick because this urgent political issue here, this urgent environmental issue there, or else we’re toast.

At the person-to-person level, our digital messages have expiration timers and every email from your client is a fucking fire drill.

We worship the spinning wheel of time and all its manifestations.

Even a group of atomic scientists thinks we are at the knife-edge of catastrophe with their doomsday clock set to 3 minutes to midnight.

And according to one of the presidential candidates we are 4 minutes to nuclear annihilation.

Tick — Tick — Tick — Boom! Dynamite.

Superhuman Action Steps

So how do we slow down this life to bullet time and achieve greater results than we ever have?

1. Don’t cheap out on your breath. Breathe.

Let’s put some Oxygen in your bio tanks right now by taking an inhale all the way to the top, and letting go a full exhale in the name of your creator.

Oxygen alkalinizes your blood. Shallow breaths mean less oxygen and acidification. That means less time on this planet.

I’ve met many friends and clients who have never thought to take an intentional deep inhale, and match it with a resounding exhale.


Breath connects us. It keeps us alive.

We gasp for air once stress has taken its toll. You know that person who walks into a meeting room and does the audible exhale? Yeah, be mindful of that.

Take three deep breaths accompanied by three full exhalations every day. It’s like bathing your body in life. You will feel more alive.

2. Ditch the phone

I used to fantasize about tossing my phone into the Salish Sea. The device that was supposed to free us seems only to have made us more reactive, rather than proactive, worker bees. Phones are always on, buzzing, and constantly clamoring for our attention.

The worst thing you can do, unless it’s in your job description, is to respond to every message as soon as possible. Are you allowing strangers, spammers and duds to dictate your time on this planet? I sure don’t and I don’t answer non-family or VIP phone calls anymore.

Millennials dislike phone calls and often don’t answer them. If that’s news to you, check out this article from Forbes. It’s one of the many declining technologies that the generation is abandoning.

Use your judgement about responding to messages and pick 3 specific times per day to check them. I’ve found that rarely is there a call or text that requires my immediate attention. If it’s an emergency, I am going to hear about it.

Challenge: Pick one day per week and turn the phone off. If that’s too much for you, leave that beast in peace one hour per day.

3. One thing at a time

You’re a natural multitasker. It’s part of your job and it makes you more productive, right? Unfortunately, science says you’re lying.

The productivity cost of switching tasks, paired with the underlying urgency, eliminates productivity.

Personal pet peeve: Talking to someone who interrupts the conversation to jump to a different conversation on their phone.

This is not how to have a conversation. You might think you’re being important, but you’re really being an unproductive bonobo.

In her German accent, my mama always says: “One thing at the time.”

Moms know best.

4. Meditation

Meditation is the way to bullet time. It is the most important practice that everyone can be doing. It makes you a better person and less of a reptilian-brained Neanderthal.

The most successful people in the world have a mindfulness practice: Kendrick Lamar, Tony Robbins, Oprah, the Dalai Lama, Tom Brady and many more.

If you’re sitting there thinking “Ugh, I don’t have time for that,” then that’s the most potent sign that you need it.

If you can’t take 10 minutes out of your day to do something this simple, and this powerful for your mind, there’s no helping you. And you call yourself type-A? Please.

To get started, check out headspace and take their 10-day meditation challenge.

Let me know how you do!

Stick with it

Once you’re in a daily mindful flow, you will experience, as Dr. Wayne Dyer once said, that:

Infinite patience produces immediate results.

Be kind and patient with yourself and watch yourself bloom.

As always, if you need an accountability partner, send me an email.

Yours in gratitude,


4 thoughts on “Give Me Breath, or Give Me Death: 4 Ways to Navigate a Quickening World

  1. Jon Levesque Reply

    Timo, As usual you weave together a lesson in living mindfully, while giving us enough story to keep us wondering what adventure awaits us next. I love how you highlight beautiful moments in your life, the stories you heard, the lessons you learned and then bring that all home for us, along with some practical action work to participate in, we suddenly have some practical, applicable coaching.

    Thank you sir, for continuing to write and share these lessons with us all.

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