Breathe in

Breathe in. Breathe out.

I’ll be driving in my car running errands, merging onto I-35, racing to keep up – and when I step out of my car I’ll exhale.

I’ll wake up in the morning, weaving my way through our breakfast routine which is now a new dance with 4 extra paws in the mix. As I sit down to my computer, I’ll exhale.

After dinner and letting Lily play outside, we’ll talk about the future and how it’s all going to work – praying it will all work. I’ll exhale before shutting my eyes to sleep.

It seems funny to say that I’ve forgotten how to breathe. Especially in these high stress times where I don’t feel like I can breathe. Even when I perch myself outside, sitting at the base of a strong tree to help ground me, my mind stirs up all my world-weary thoughts. I keep realizing I’m holding my breath – and exhale.

It’s been so long. Long deep breath through the nose, long deep breath out the mouth. Feeling my lungs expand with life then releasing the excess.

It’s been a bunch of exhales and sighs – as though I don’t want to breathe in where I am because I don’t like what it looks like or how it feels. It’s uncertain and strange and unsettled. I’m not good with unsettled. I’m not good at breathing through this.

I try giving myself pep talks like a personal trainer. Just a bit longer – you can do this… but it doesn’t work. This is no surprise as pushing through my problems historically has never really worked.

They say that the universe will keep giving you the same lesson over and over again until you finally learn what you need to learn. Maybe I still haven’t learned the act of breathing, deeply breathing. The lesson of being awake to every bit of life, especially the bits that don’t feel so nice. I don’t like sitting amidst all my unpleasantness. It’s easier to push it aside and say no, “I’m in the moment,” so I can’t let that feeling exist. I taught myself to try and ignore it.

Yet, I need to breathe. To feel all the feelings that bubble up throughout the day. Emotions like fear, uncertainty, disappointment, frustration, sadness – they aren’t bad things, and yet I’ve conditioned myself to treat them that way. Intellectually I know this, but intrinsically, there’s still so much to dig through. To relearn.

This is part of my inhale and exhale. Spilling words on the page, even if they aren’t pretty or aren’t inspiring. But maybe you understand this, too?

I need to read them. I need to be reminded to keep breathing, even when it’s uncomfortable.

So even though our bodies are these wondrous things that breathe mechanically, subconsciously – they also hold tension and pain. Eventually that cup overflows and we’re forced to deal with it whether it’s pleasant or fun or “right” or “supposed to be” etc etc.

Long ago, I read that we can get lost in our seeking of peace, tranquility, light… It seems so backwards. How can we get so off track when we’re seeking all the “right, good” things? The answer lies in the seeking. Seeking outside.

I know that it all lies within, but it’s work. It’s re-wiring 28 years of life to something much simpler. In fact, it’s not even a rewiring. It’s a letting go – a deep exhale followed by a deep inhale again and again. Those words, “everything is okay.”

Peel back the life you think is right, to be awake to the life you have – even in all its unpleasantness. And one day you won’t even call it unpleasantness, it’ll just be another precious moment strung along all the others.

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