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Posts Tagged ‘breathe’

I had this comment on a post not too long ago. I love getting comments here, all kinds of comments. Those of you who say, “yes, me too”, and those of you who reveal your souls. This comment has stuck with me. The commenter used the name “Confused”, which worried me about the message I was sending here (assuming there’s a message). It made me take pause before I replied. It made me wonder about the words I was leaving here. It made me wonder about my life.

The comment was wonderful, I replied the best I could. He replied… I replied again, and then — we were done. Here anyway. I wasn’t done with the thoughts swimming in my head — the feeling that I might have been stuck in a rut… that I might have been perpetually swimming under water. He hasn’t been back, that I know of (also, I don’t know if he’s a he). Shortly after that, I wrote this post and felt a sense of righteous indignation as I typed away on my keyboard that night and could literally feel my head bobbing out of the water… taking a deep breath and finally ready to move forward. I was hoping “Confused” might come back to see it.

Around the same time, I saw this picture on Kind Over Matter,

I thought to myself, “What would I do if I had no fear? Well, I’d write a post about setting myself on fire for starters.”

But, for a while, I’ve been thinking about this picture, about that post I wrote, and about “Confused”. It’s been a challenging few weeks. I thought this might be a good time to do a gut check to see if I was moving forward or if I was perpetually swimming under water. I started thinking about what I would do if I had no fear.

I know I would start a blog, if I had no fear. I would go to the edge of losing control and then turn around and come back… I would invite conversation with those who have a certain disdain for me — if I had no fear. I would open up my heart when I should keep it closed and I would open up my mouth and let the words flow freely instead of pausing and walking away and I would invite new people into my sometimes uncertain world — if I had no fear.

I would wrap myself in doubt and walk out the door anyway, I would beg for understanding when I know all you’ll remember is the begging, I would continue to show up at the party hosted by agitated strangers and enjoy the company — all, if I had no fear. I would put myself and a sleeping bag and a cell phone in my car and head out to my favorite camping spot… I would seek clarity even when it proved my actions were muddied with spite — if I had no fear.

I would raise my children to question those who speak contemptuously about others who don’t act or speak or live the same as them and I would take my kids to the fair when I should have paid that bill and I would accept the brutal honesty you offer and I would set myself on fire… daily, if I had no fear.

I would do the things I’m doing now. That’s how I know I’m moving forward, that’s how I know I’m not perpetually swimming under water — that’s how I know. How do you know?

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I started yoga about 5 1/2 months ago. I say “started yoga” instead of “started doing yoga” for a reason — I think once you start yoga it seeps in to all your daily activities, at least that might be the end result… one I haven’t quite achieved yet. Yoga becomes more about how you react and perceive and create — it is more than just the routine or a workout, it is constant… it is with you always. In yoga, one of the most important things to remember to do is breathe — calm, steady, active breaths that help you relax and achieve not only the inner balance but also the physical stamina — and, honestly, I forget to breathe.

I find myself in the middle of yoga holding my breath or breathing too fast — my breath is hard to maintain. I realized a couple of months ago during one of those moments when I was letting yoga seep in to my daily activities, that I forget about maintaining my breathing during most things in my life — while I’m sitting calm or thinking or treadmilling or talking to someone — I forget to breathe. I think my “relax gene” has some issues that need to be sorted out.

This morning, I began my yoga practice and was determined to focus on my breathing above all else — I was determined to remain focused and balanced. So… I began. Within the first five minutes, my phone began buzzing with text messages. (I always keep my phone on the floor near me during yoga — I don’t know why, but this morning I realized it has to change.) Then the laptop began beeping with email notifications. I started to focus on the sounds of my dog and if he needed to go out, I heard my daughter in the refrigerator searching for a morning snack, I peeked at the text messages during downward dog and glanced to see who the emails were from during chair pose. I lost my focus. I began formulating my responses to the texts and the emails and forgot to breathe. That’s about the time, I was doing this, and fell.

I am, apparently, a self-sabotager. I start out with the best intentions — to make a friend smile, to show I care, to share a laugh, to help a child… and I forget to focus and balance and breathe. I lose track of the present and my mind becomes consumed with the what-ifs of the future. The present is my downfall — the present is where my breathing becomes fast or short or ceases… never rhythmic.

Yesterday, I joined a little over 200 people in a project called 21.5.800 created by Bindu Wiles. It’s a way to combine yoga and writing and community. The concept is intriguing and I hope to keep up my end of the writing — at least that was my original intention… to keep up with the writing. But, this morning, on day 2 of the challenge, I think I’m changing my focus. I think my new focus in this challenge is to breathe — steady, calm, rhythmic… and place the cell phone just out of my reach.

So if you see me out, breathing, steady and calm, just know… I’m working on my “relax gene”. I’m working on letting yoga seep in to my daily activities. I’m working on my inner balance and my outward stamina. I’m working on my creativity. I’m working on the present and trying to let the present guide the future. And honestly, sometimes, when I’m doing all that stuff, I forget to breathe.

I’m not sure how many times I’ve used this picture in my posts — it’s one of my favorites from Zebra Sounds. Go visit — you’ll thank me.

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I think one of my new favorite words is tethered. Isn’t it strange how you can go through life and a word that you’ve heard hundreds of times suddenly becomes important in your life journey? It suddenly has meaning in your world, it suddenly helps you think and breathe and learn — tethered. A word we’ve all heard at some point. A word, the meaning of which suddenly became clear to me in an unlikely place.

When I was a kid, we always had a carnival in my town during the summer months. Given the fact that the town I grew up in had, at the time, about 15,000 residents, the summer carnival season was a gathering place for everyone. It was small — but it was something to do after a long day at the lake. My group of friends and I usually would ride our bikes to the carnival at the end of those carefree summer days.

I remember one year there was a hot air balloon that you could float up in the air and look out over the whole town. My friends were all for this adventure. I however, opted out. I remember studying the rope that tethered it to the ground. I remember thinking how that one rope couldn’t possibly keep that balloon from becoming adrift — it couldn’t possibly keep it secure. I even remember talking to the man who seemed to be in charge of the balloon to get his input on the one thin tether. He assured me that it was fine… it was safe… it was secure.

I stayed on the ground. I watched my friends float up. I stared in fear at the thin rope tethering that balloon and my friends, hoping it wouldn’t send them adrift into the hot summer night. They returned to Earth… safe, secure — and with stories of how far they could see into the night. I’ve still never been in a hot air balloon — maybe one day.

I was chatting with a friend a few months ago and she made a remark that she felt a little distant, a little adrift. She said she needed to know she was tethered to something, to someone real. I thought about this for a long time. This word — tethered. I remembered the thin rope that held the hot air balloon safe, secure. It dawned on me that one small rope could absolutely be strong enough to hold that hot air balloon in place.

One voice saying, “it’s ok”, “breathe”, “I’m here”, is absolutely enough to keep you from feeling adrift — to keep you tethered.

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Today I took a huge leap in my life. One I’m not quite prepared to discuss here. But, a leap that leaves me scared and excited and scared and hopeful and scared and refreshed, oh and scared.

I think that’s the thing about leaping — it can be scary and new and messy… leaping can be messy. But, what I’m learning is that stagnant can be worse. I think, like many people, I’ve secured my feet in the concrete solidness of stagnant — avoiding anything out of the ordinary. I’ve been afraid of messy for a while. I was afraid that my messy was too much, too messy. But, then I heard a very good definition of messy — one that I thought really defined what I was trying to say but, as so often occurs with me, I couldn’t locate all the right words and get them in the right order. Here’s what I heard (from a very reliable source), messy is:

…the willingness to make mistakes, risk your heart, connect with new people, be an imperfect mom, be someone different and new.

I liked this — a lot. I’ve kept it, like so many other things I read that strike a chord with me.

I always thought being the “new kid” in school had loads of advantages. The thought of starting over, fresh, a clean slate — it’s very appealing. I, like everyone else who went “away” to college, was the new kid for a while. I had several friends who, when they went away to college, started using their middle names or a nickname. They became someone new and better and it seemed fun. I was given a nickname in college as well — Punky (it was an easy choice for my new friends given my last name of Brewster). I think, however, it had more to do with my personality than my convenient last name. Many of my college friends still call me Punky, I like that. I can remember being on second or third dates and the boy would have no idea what my real name was — no one knew…I was Punky to all and still am to some. Lots of my friends I have met recently call me “b”. I like that too. Renewal. Starting over. Refreshed.

I’m sure I’ll be dealing with some messes along the way. But, better that than stagnant. Better to move on and breathe deeply then to wade in the shallow end and never know what it’s like to fill your lungs with the deep breath of renewal. So today, renewal. Today, I breathe in and breathe out. Today, I begin…again.

I searched for a video or a poem or something about happiness that I thought would make you smile, I ended up with this video I posted on Facebook a couple of months ago — it makes me smile, it helps me breathe… enjoy.

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