Day 20 I noticed that I was keeping count without my fingers, how long have I been doing that?
When I’ve already begun to change a lifelong pattern (in this case one that involves trying to remain undisturbed by keeping things- thoughts, feelings, emotions, sensations- both in and out) that the truer workings, subtleties, and intricacies of the way the pattern is woven throughout my life, emerge. Yow. See below.
What it was like today:
I’m sitting. My body is fairly relaxed. I want to get to a place where I can just watch my breath coming and going – in and out – in and out – but the more I want this, the more labored my breathing becomes. Then I ask myself, What if I practice just letting the exhale go? What if it disappears and I don’t care where it goes or how it gets out of me? It’s then that I notice I’ve been simultaneously containing the exhale as I conscientiously try to let it out. Constipated breathing.
Visible in my breathing pattern is the strategy that if nothing goes in and nothing goes out, I can remain blissfully undisturbed. A misguided idea of peace. Since I took the The Do Not Disturb sign off my door years ago, the next layer of dismantling my default mode is apparent here in my exhale.
There’s a shift. I feel creaking in my pelvis, like the way a foundation groans as it settles. I remember the mysterious snaps and bangs my childhood home…back to the breath. At about 80 breaths the exhale is flying free. As soon as I register a feeling of ease, I try to hold it – keep it. I notice this too, and a momentary taste of the present, a fleeting nano-second of calm amidst a busy inner world, is enough.
How’s it going for you?
Have you noticed that it’s so much better when other people tackle a disciplined practice along with you? There’s something even more than support, encouragement, and empathy that happens between us, even online. I’m perfectly willing to go solo on this, but it would be fantastic if you were doing it too. We can share stories – or not. You can just read, lurk about and observe – your call.
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Related articles & photo credit:
photo detail from Breathing by Anne Lindberg at the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art