Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Joy of Breathing

We all thought I had asthma growing up. But it must have been severe allergies. I’m not sure. I ran out of breath if I walked too fast. I ran out of breath if I ran. I ran out of breath if I slept in a cold room. I ran out of breath if I slept in a warm room. Any given year, without a doubt. I was sick with bronchitis twice a year when the seasons changed from Fall to Winter and Spring to Summer.

It didn’t help that I developed different forms of anxiety. Like the “I’m so nervous I feel like I’m talking but no one can hear me.” Or the, “I’m so nervous I’m going to pass out.” The really gross one...”I’m so nervous I’m going to throw up to feel better.”

I took a meditation class in college. I learned a lot about Chi--energy, and breathing as you meditate. Actually, I even learned about being mindful, being in a state of mindful meditation. I think after the class was over I stopped wanting to do guided meditations. I developed this pattern of “fast” and “now.” Kind of like our whole generation, we want instant results, gratification, news, social media...everything k thx bai.

I can’t sit still for too long and yet sometimes I can sit for hours crocheting. It’s a mystery. I can’t sit long enough for guided prayer either. I had to walk out of there so fast. It was just not going to work out for me. I can’t sit at the dinner table long either. I start getting up and proceed to finish eating my dinner while walking around the kitchen. What’s in the kitchen? There’s nothing of interest to my meal, that’s for sure. Meditation or mindfulness didn’t stick.

But my therapist tried to make me breathe. Breathe in through your nose, she gently said. Breathe out through your mouth like you’re pushing the breath out. Did she not know that I had sat in that chair for too long and I needed to go. Didn’t matter where I went. I just needed to get up and walk around. Okay I took a breath. It was a failure of a breath but she made me do it again. And then the next day when I totally spazzed out at work I tried breathing again. And when I ran around town I took another deep breath. My goal is to do my breathing exercises twice a day for five minutes.

And I can’t consciously do five minutes of breathing…yet. However, if I find myself breathing in through my nose, my body knows to push out the breath through my mouth. And that makes me so happy. A different happy, a fun happy. A peaceful happiness.

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