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Posts Tagged ‘breathing’

November 25

I’ve had readers ask me why I haven’t written Day 365.  It didn’t begin as intentional – I didn’t mean to skip the last day.  I wasn’t ignoring it.  In a way, I wasn’t thinking about it at all.  But then I realized the obligation of writing a daily blog was a kind of practice in meditation – I have been focusing on writing like I focus on meditative breathing; and since I am a beginner at meditation – liable for straying from focus – I would make it a practice to return to the breath, so to speak, to get back on track.  It has been quite a commitment to open myself up to this discovery, or discoveries, that I have hoped would bring me to a higher level of consciousness and enlightenment.

When I realized the analogy of meditation, while it’s equally important to commit to meditation on a daily basis, I also realized that to a Buddhist, days melt together into an infinite stretch.  What is time, anyway?  It’s a measurement man had created for himself – really for farming purposes.  I’m not suggesting there’s no purpose or ceremony in an individual day, but, rather, each day is like a wave on an ocean.  We don’t always look out to the sea and see every single wave that rises, crests and falls.  But those waves are out there, they matter, they keep the rhythm of the ocean alive, they are constant and they follow a larger source and rhythm that we don’t even see.  Most of us don’t even feel it, which is sad.  But, I do.  Feel the source (not see every wave!).  And, thus, are my days – 344, 362, 365, whatever.  It doesn’t really matter.  My journey began long before the blog and my evolution continues to excelerate well past that missed day.

I was going to go back and write it, but when I was collecting the written entries to work this blog into a book project I’m hoping to get published, I realized I had accidentally skipped a day.  So, I’m actually two days short.

But, kind reader, don’t be dismayed that I have skipped or missed two days.  I am not dismayed, myself.  Those blanks, too, have served their purpose in my story.

If there must be some kind of closure to the 365 Days Until Love blog, however, let it be this…

Jane Goodall once wrote:
I have found that to love and to be loved is the most empowering and exhilirating of all human emotions.

And that applies to love in all of its manifestations.

John Denver wrote a song (perfomed with opera’s legendary tenor Placido Domingo) called Perhaps Love.  I write the lyrics below (without permission):

(Placido Domingo)
Perhaps love is like a resting place
A shelter from the storm
It exists to give you comfort
It is there to keep you warm
And in those times of trouble
When you are most alone
The memory of love will bring you home

Perhaps love is like a window
Perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer
It wants to show you more
And even if you lose yourself
And don’t know what to do
The memory of love will see you through

(John Denver)

(Placido Domingo)
Oh, Love to some is like a cloud
To some as strong as steel

(John Denver)
For some a way of living
For some a way to feel

(Placido Domingo)
And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go
And some say love is everything
And some say they don’t know

(John starts joined by Placido)
Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of pain
Like a fire when it’s cold outside
Thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you

(Placido Domingo)
And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go

(John Denver)
And some say love is everything
Some say they don’t know

(John starts joined by Placido)
Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of pain
Like a fire when it’s cold outside
Or thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you

When Denver wrote the song he was thinking about all the ways he experienced love.  He thought about what all people must think of love, and the song came to him effortlessly.  A turning point for him, as an artist and musician, happened when he listened to Domingo sing the song with him in a live concert.  Denver was deeply impressed by the way Domingo sang his lyrics, which, thus, changed the way Denver sang his own songs from there on.  He had said, “when Placido sang the word steel, you felt steel.  When he sang the word cloud, you felt a cloud.”

And that is how I consider my work, now, moving forward, as an artist and as a humble woman – daughter, sister, friend, lover – to say what I mean and mean what I say, to feel and express myself deeply and fully, and to have strength in my love and loving.  And this I mean for love in all of its beautiful manifestations.

Blessings.

L.A.J.

 

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Monday, June 2

Deep breath.  Om.  Stretch.  Breathe.  I was a little congested this morning.  So I had to make an effort to take in deeper, clearer, meditative breaths.

After I got out of bed, I got online for work.  I checked my emails, responded to different requests, edited some copy for our brochure, then got ready to leave for an appointment and also to drop off wine downtown.  On my way out, I had to take a Claritan-D.  I was very congested and my eyes were itchy and watering up.  I kept sneezing.  Must be allergies.  Or…the non-allergic rhinitis condition I supposedly had.  I’m still not convinced it’s not just plain allergies.

First, I drove up to Killingsworth to meet with the Chef at Autentica.  It was an engaging meeting about an event we’re going to do at the winery.  After, I dropped off wine with the Oregon Wine Board for media and event samples. 

I had a late lunch with a colleague at Andina.  I love Andina because they have amazing, unique cuisine and they have a gluten-free menu.  I had a glass of the sweet lime juice, instead of bread they gave me fried yuca with spicy verde sauce, and then I had the small plate of mixed greens with fresh vegetables (which included hearts of palm and asparagus with a zingy lime dressing), and then the rich avocado stuffed with crab and shrimp. 

After lunch I checked my work emails and worked on our wine club logo.  And then I found out my cousin gave birth to a baby girl, Natalie Hope, weighing in at 8 pounds even.  This was my cousin’s first daugther after two sons.  I was so excited!  I called her in the afternoon, thinking I’d get her voice mail, but was delighted she picked up.  It was so good to hear her voice.  I felt so happy for this wonderful blessing.

I then headed over to Yoga Pearl.  I was going to do it.  I was going to drop in on a yoga class!  This would be my first class since this fall (I think!).  I was going to the Vinyassa class, which was really hard!  It’s a 90 minute class, and when it started I was feeling pretty good.  I got there early and unrolled my mat and stretched out and started working on my breathing.  The initial positions were slow movements, the usual positions.  But half way through the class I was sweating as if it were the Power Vinyassa class with the room temperature heated at 95 degrees.  But, no, I was just getting a hard workout.  I kept pushing myself, even though my weak ankles sometimes wobbled (I had chronic ankle sprains from previous sports injuries).  At one point I wondered if I would make it all the way through the class.  I didn’t realize how out of shape I was.  But I persevered.  And I made it through the challenging class.  I was so proud of myself! 

When it was over, I was soaked with sweat, exhausted and my throat was pretty sore.  I felt like I had unleashed so many toxins in this deep, intense and balancing exercise that perhaps I got a cold?  I drank a little water on my way home.

It had occurred to me that I wasn’t working myself hard enough in my gym workouts.  It took me to be pushed hard as I was this evening to see just how much I had been coasting along with light bicycle workouts, walking or jogging on the treadmill, even if I was going for 40 minutes.  After this great workout, I decided I would work out harder, all around.  I had lost some muscle tone and wanted to get my strength and endurance back.

On my way home, I stopped by Crate & Barrel to pick up hurricane lamps that were on sale for work.  When I left it started to rain.  And by the time I drove the four miles home, my throat was killing me.  I went upstairs and grabbed a Ricola throat losenge.  And then I took a very relaxing, aromatherapy shower.  For a moment, I felt better.  I was clear.  But it didn’t last for long. 

About thirty minutes later, after I made myself vegetable soup for dinner, my throat was killing me again.  I made a cup of Matcha green tea, which is loaded with antioxidants, with a teaspoon of orange honey.   I had been downing large glasses of water to cleanse out all of the toxins I had loosened up from yoga.  And I took a dose of Wellness herbal resistance drops as an additional safeguard. 

It’s weird.  I felt tremendous from my yoga workout and yet got home only to feel sick.  The sore throat could easily have been a symptom of my allergy-like symptoms – from the post nasal drip and hard, dry breathing (without water intake) during the yoga class.  Or, I was fighting a cold. 

Irrespective, I had another throat losenge, continued to drink more water, and heated up my aromatherapy neck wrap to soothe and relax.  I kept blowing my nose, which was in one part really congested, to the point I could feel clogging in my ears, and then getting runny.  I felt crappy.

I worked on the haiku I wrote for my sister, putting it in a customized, pretty design that I planned to frame and mail out to her.  This kept me relaxed while I tried to breathe and feel better.

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Saturday, March 29
10:26 p.m.

To say that I have been stressed is an understatement.  I am concerned about the economy, about my finances, about the cost of gas, about the cost of my utilities (esp. my energy bills, which are atrocious), about feeling like I owe more than I make!  At times I’m tired of doing it alone – I mean, most people my age have a partner to split everything 50-50.   Which, if you live sensibly, means you end up regaining that half you had been losing.  I’m tired.  I wanted, for so long, to earn my keep, to be independent, to do it all on my own.  At some point you have to make choices.  Do I change careers?  Do I get a roommate?  Do I take on a part-time job for extra cash?  And then I just breathe…

Breathing is such a natural, innate process that you don’t even think about it, you inhale and exhale in the same fashion as blinking or digesting.  Most people don’t even realize that they’re not even breathing properly.  Most people breathe with just the top from their breastbone on up, not using their diaphragm.  Breathing isn’t even considered, that is, unless you can’t breathe – if you are badly congested or choking on something, or if you are giving birth or concentrating on it for a yoga class or meditation session.  The point is, breathing is probably the most important thing we do.

I’ve come to learn the importance in breathing.  While at rest, in exercising, in meditating and even when sleeping.  And, now I’m learning it’s even important in the writing process.  I began reading Laraine Herring’s book Writing Begins with the Breath.  In her introduction she writes (and I quote without permission):

“Deep writing comes from our bodies, from our breath, and from our ability to remain solid in the places that scare us.  It comes from merging with what we are writing – from dissolving our egos so that the real work can emerge through us, without our conditions for success attached to it.” 

That has been my problem.  I have been so strangled by my need to find an agent, to get my novel published, to get my short stories and essays published…and worse, my need to make extra money to pay off my debt.  I have put an incredible amount of pressure on myself that I have literally created my own writer’s block. 

This book may help me to put a fresh breath back into my writing process.  This is essential, else I might suffocate from my own clouded mind and body. 

So, the question of how will this book incorporate breath in the writing process?

Herring claims:

“Returning to the rise and fall of breath, bringing a level of conscious awareness to a predominantly involuntary action, reins in the scattered nature of our thoughts and grounds us in our bodies, squarely in the present moment where we must remain if we are to write deeply.”

I haven’t been disciplined with my meditation.  At least I have been consistently working out, and in my cardio exercise I am aware of my breath.  Now, I need to make an effort to implement more yoga into my workouts, 15 minutes of yoga a day, and this includes making plenty of time for sleep each night.  I  had been depriving myself of a decent night’s sleep for weeks, going to bed too late.  And I have been congested since my bout with the flu, so I’m still taking Claritan-D, which doesn’t help in the sleep department, other than it helps to keep me clear so that I can breathe – that is, paired with a Breathe Right Nose Strip adhered to the bridge of my nose.

I need to come up with a dedicated writing process.  I need to make the time for it, I need to cut out distractions, I need to slow down, to breathe and just write.  Conversely, I need to stop over-thinking, stressing, and pressuring myself to perform.  I need to create a process or ritual that will aid in the free flow of expression.  I haven’t identified the process yet – light candles or burn incense, stretch, do a couple of yoga poses that will open up my creative energy, sit at a desk or set up at the dining room table…

After writing this, I took a deep, meditative breath and shook out the tension in my shoulders.  I think this book is going to prove to be quite helpful, at least I’m hopeful.  Meantime, I made myself a cup of Yogi Tea and the following message was on the tag:  Be happy so long as breath is in you.

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