bReath . . . INg
"I'm dying to breath in these abundant skies" - Switchfoot (Learning to Breath)
Breathing... one of the fundamentals of life. Often taken for granted in our day to day lives. But, it can also be where so many troubles lie deep down - from our emotional state, physical state, physiological state, and sometimes our spiritual state. It can allow for an immense amount of freedom - or the opposite. Breathing rate is one of the first physiological reactions we have when we are anxious or overcome with stress in our day and yet it can also plays a large part in calming ourselves down from those moments as well. There are numerous studies been down and many different practices to help us find our "center" and we are told all the time to "breath through it" or "take a breath"...
I have been reading Brene Brown's books the past couple months (they have been amazing to read through the journey I have been on lately).
Last night as I was reading "Rising Strong", I came across a part where Brene talks about the fact that she is a 'breath holder' - this stopped me in my reading tracks immediately for one big reason - I am a 'breath holder' as well (apparently this is a "thing").
I have held my breath during menial tasks as well as big ones. When I am scared, happy, thinking, writing, working out, running, doing to many things at one time, stressed, or just because --- well you get the picture. I don't even remember the time in my past when I started doing this, but it has pervaded my entire life for as long as I can remember. If you have read my previous posts you will understand a little more about the why through some of the later parts of my life at least. This has become more than a habit - it has become a part of me - a part of my everyday self.
Anyway, the bigger point to this is that I have been going to an RMT (among other therapists) to help get my body and my mind to reconnect through my journey and the big thing I have been dealing with on and off is ... you guessed it : BREATHING. If Marlies has told me once, she told me a thousand times .... to breathe. There have been constant attempts to remind me on a regular basis to breath. . . Getting asked, "Are you breathing?" Has become very common place to hear. Before recently this would just piss me off and frustrated me. I would hate hearing it - mainly cause I had no idea that I was doing it, how to stop it ,or untangle it from myself. You can't tell someone who spends the better part of their life in some high level "fight or flight", ties their methods breathing (or lack thereof) to their ability to cope or survive and who holds their breath thousands of times a day to ... breathe.
The best way I can describe it is the following. Picture being under water, holding your breath and someone telling you to breath. That would be ridiculous ... I mean that would feel extremely dangerous right? Your fear would be that immediately your lungs would fill with water and you would start choking, or would become unconscious and well it would seem like the end. This may seem mellow dramatic as a description to someone who breaths normally (or mostly normally) - but, to someone who has linked their ability to get through life and deal with high anxiety (and yet still look like you are functioning in the world) you might as well put my head under water and force me to breath. It does feel that dire and that linked to my survival that I can honestly say it has seemed like an insane and dangerous notion.
Now, again having people to help me work through some deep rooted issues (emotional and the physical ties to this) recently - I have had a few major break through moments in this area of my life. two weeks ago (Thursday February 2 2017 to be exact), I learned for the first time what it was like to breath without constriction in my chest. What it was like to feel my rib cage move and my lungs expand without tightness and pain (despite the random emotional nervous system kickbacks that have come with it). It was GLORIOUS and very, very strange. But, through this - I learned what it felt like and I now have something I could work towards - something I understood because I felt it. What before then seemed like a nice idea one day, turned into a tangible reality and a point of reference.
Now, this by no means, is a complete cure - you don't go from not being able to breath properly or fully and hold your breath for most of your life and then "tada!" all of a sudden you don't have any issues anymore (wouldn't that be amazing). But, it does give me something to work towards. When our body doesn't know where it is going - how can you tell it to do something that your mind doesn't understand how to tell your body what to do, let alone something it that it relates to your ability to cope - or very life is tied to it? - you can't, pure and simple.
As with anything, you need to be able to teach your body to relearn the process and be acutely aware of what it is doing at all times. Yes, this is a lot of work at first and it will take time.... I am choosing to think of it as an adventure.But, you can choose to look at it in whatever way that allows you get through it.
I think where I wanted this to stem off to is that there are things we deal with that are so ingrained into our very being - things that we are not sure how to separate from ourselves, or even in some cases have no idea that they even are so how would we know what to fix. However, I do know that nothing is impossible and if you keep opening your eyes and hearts to ways that we can become better people and allow others to help us ... (and of course stay positive and believe better is possible) then, when you are emotionally prepared for the battle ahead - it will happen! The possibilities are endless!!