Is today a breathing day?

I’m waking up knowing I have a lot on my plate today, feeling my head bog down, filled with details. In the background is Ukraine. I can’t put it out of my mind, nor should I. Millions of people are being displaced; for what reason? What gives a bully the right to go into a country that just wants its people to have a choice? What gives a bully the right to decide that he has so much power that he can completely affect the world order? He can affect gas prices, he can affect the stock market, he can affect how much food we have on our table.

It reminds me of my father who used to say “There are Haves and Have-nots, and I want to be a Have”. That philosophy of life was his motor; it kept him going. He had morning blues which meant he hated to get up for work on Monday, but he had an underlying voice saying “I want to be a Have”. I know I have internalized that message. I know I have traded on my privilege. I know the thought of being a Have-not not terrifies me. When I look at the people leaving the country with just the dog and a suitcase I think that could easily be me. Having been raised with that story in my background I see how much it rules the decisions I make.

Every day I ask myself can you breathe? Is today a breathing day? And if I can’t breathe I have to look inside and ask my brain, what is stopping you from breathing today? After years of practice and working on this one question, I know that when I can’t breathe it’s primarily my head and all the noise that’s getting in the way. So the combination of having had the experience of learning to breathe properly, learning to use my diaphragm, learning the importance of sound, and understanding why we need vibration is what allows me to go from my head being noisy and my heart pounding fast to beginning to have a breath. I need to do this every day. It’s not a choice to skip it. I’m not doing back stretches only because my back hurts. I’m doing back stretches because it helps me breathe. I use a belt and traction my spine because it helps me breathe. I stretch my arms up over my head and let my ribs expand because it helps to breathe. Every day, I wake up, and I start again and again and again.

Finding Light Through the Dark

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