February 23rd, 2011

Ice and the stars

Dept. of Taking a Breath

Learning to Breathe

I'm going to have to learn to do that. Breathing is not something that I do easily, or even naturally. I gasp. I hold my breath. I pant. I hiccup. Sometimes I scream, or sob.*  But I don't breathe. Simple in and out, smooth and regular. Breathing that might allow me to stop worrying about breathing, and start paying attention to the other things in the universe.

My life right now is difficult. Not Third World Poverty difficult. Not Crawling Out From Under Earthquake-pancaked Buildings difficult.  Not Living in Juarez difficult or Being a Woman in Afghanistan difficult. But it's difficult. Lower pay, higher costs, dying car, mounting bills, accruing debt, aging mother.  Health.

Oh, god, health. BB's. Mine. We're getting a handle on his, and that's good, but it's been long and hard.  I'm just now trying to come to terms with, to get my mind around, things I'm learning about my own health. Including the possibility that some of my health problems may have been exacerbated by stress, much of it undoubtedly self-induced.

And that leads to the conundrum. If you're dealing with stressful situations, you probably need to be calm to deal with them. But those stressful things are what make your heart pound and cause you to gasp, or scream. And the pounding heart, the interrupted breathing, makes you tense up more. It's a vicious circle.

And yet you have to stop tensing up. To deal with stress, you've got to lose it. To lose it, you have to deal with it.  To learn to breathe, you have to breathe.

Quite the irritatingly Zen koan-ish reality.

Alright, then. Perhaps I should sleep on it. I breathe easier when I sleep.

*There are some times I chuckle, snort or guffaw, to be sure, and that's wonderful, but that doesn't mean I'd be in good shape if those were the only ways I took in oxygen.