• Flojo

A lesson in positivity from a homeless man

I'd like to share a short story about my encounter with Jim.

Jim is a gentleman I met on the street a couple of months ago. Jim is homeless and lives on the streets in Sydney. I regularly saw him when I was walking from the bus stop to the gym at 5am twice a week. We always smiled and exchanged a nod or a 'good morning'. This particular day, I was half an hour early for a class so I decided to stop and have a chat with Jim. It was our first conversation and I have to say, I wasn't able to stop thinking about it for quite some time.

We talked about many things that morning Jim and I, but we talked a lot about the importance of breathing. He was incredibly knowledgeable about the effects that a good breathing technique can have on both the body from a very physical, cellular level, to the impact it has on the mindset of those who need to feel calm and regain focus. He said that through our breath, we have the potential ability to extend our longevity and when we breathe correctly - by this he meant diaphragm breathing rather than shallow breathing from the chest - we are literally replenishing the cells in our body by allowing more oxygen to circulate.

"We grow old one day at a time. We grow younger one breath at a time." - Jim

The benefits of breathing

Now, I am certainly no doctor or expert (and I don't think that was Jim's former profession either), but I do know through my own research, that by increasing your oxygenation levels, it has shown to be important for improving your overall health and wellbeing, as well as having the following benefits of improving:

  • Vision;

  • Mental clarity and intelligence;

  • Productivity;

  • Immunity;

  • Respiration (super important right now with the side effects of COVID19); and

  • Reducing stress levels

It was breathing, Jim said, that enabled him to forget his surroundings and the wind and rain which had lashed down on him a few days before. He literally weathered the storm by focusing on his breathing.

What are you carrying?

Jim also told me during our conversation that he has two bags which he carries. I glanced at his belongings, indeed, there were two bags tucked into the shop doorway where he had slept that night. He then went on to say...

"I carry a bag of calm on one shoulder, and a bag of positivity and determination on the other."

Jim was and still is, one of the most positive strangers I have had the pleasure to meet and he is a true example of how CHOOSING to have a positive mindset, and using the tools you already have, can get you through the challenging times which we often find ourselves in.

  • How will you choose to think?

  • Will you choose positive thoughts over negative ones?

  • What will you choose to put inside the bags over your shoulders?

  • Will you choose to focus a little more on your breathing for just 15 minutes a day?

You have the choice.

Thank you for reading


(aka Flo)

Photo by Jorg Karg on Unsplash

The man in this photo is not Jim (although he reminds me a lot like him). I would like to acknowledge the photographer, Jorg Karg, who took this photograph of a homeless man he met in front of a railway station. He asked for permission to take the photograph, and the man happily consented. Like Jim and I, Jorg Karg often spoke to the man when their paths crossed.

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