One reason I talk so much (and think so much and process so much) is that these are the ways I have developed, through my past experience and choices, for “letting me have” my own true feelings. Talking and sharing makes the feelings seem more real to me.
Sometimes this is swell, others horrific, lots of in-between. But there are times when I have taken the art of talking too much – believe it or not – to the extreme of not even breathing. Literally. I can take very short shallow breaths between words for…up to 94 minutes in a row sometimes.
This is fantastic when you have a 50 minute research instruction session to complete, wherein you are to teach college students of all kinds and ages everything they need to know about using a library. It’s not so good when it becomes a habitual part of life; or when talking a mile a minute becomes the only way to feel anything.
Lack of breathing into the belly causes altitude sickness, even below sea level. At that point, breathing fast like a creature from the black lagoon, the very feelings I am trying to have by talking so goddamn much are stilted by the fact that I am not breathing. So this fucks me – in a very badfuck way.
So I started studying, consciously, specifically, ways to learn how to breathe. Historically, I have dabbled frequently (with varying amounts of devotion) in this topic, or discipline, of *conscious breathing*. But over the last nine months, I’ve been more focused and conscious about it than ever. I read a number of different authors/gurus* and listen to several different cd’s regularly, all with certain success, depending on various factors in the situation. As a result of that study, these are some of my notes in regard to breathing.
the breath is always a safe place to put the attention because:
- breathing embodies and makes tangible the idea of paradox, requiring expansion and contraction, a constant yin and yang of opposing motion, in order to maintain stasis – stable life – it reminds us how necessary it is to embrace opposing forces and the deep intimate connection between them
- breathing neither steals, steels, dampens, nor suppresses my feelings AND SIMULTANEOUSLY nor does it demand, urge or jusity any particular call to action
- breathing thus brings me to ponder the difference between expressing emotion reflectively and indulging in a reflexive emotion (a constant source of safe focus for an overly busybrain)
- which also brings me to the question of how do I (and don’t I) follow my instincts, gently reminding me that my soul’s instincts, like any animal’s, always know what to do if I can only quiet my mind
- breathing makes it less necessary to *use* moments or feelings or experiences like a drug, to hide from myself
- when I breathe instead of hide, I stop lying to myself and become less susceptible to the lies of others
An application of breath notes & lessons to my “romantic” past:
I believe almost all my romantic relationships fell victim to an unhealthy amount of use. I used them and I chose other people who were also prone to use the relationship (and me).
What do I mean by “use”. I mean use not as in – take advantage of, materially – but rather I mean to use the romance like a drug. Use the relationship as a way to escape myself. Think about how a drug user feels about their drug, usually sooner rather than later, it’s a love-hhhate relationship at best. It’s certainly not healthy and at the very least, it’s lopsided – because the used substance person ends up with all the power and lots of loathing from the user person and vice-versa. I hate being on either end (usually both at once) of that deal.
When I have used romance and relationships this way, it generally goes like this: I think, woohoo, this relationship is so great, it has just saved me from everything I was afraid of about myself. That’s a natural reaction given that when you are in the throes of romance, the other person is seeing vividly everything good about you and nothing bad – you think playing along seems like the only obvious response.
But fear is part of life – we are hard-wired for it as much as meaning – probably more so. As an animal, fear is an essential survival skill. If we try to side-step fear just because we are human (why should being a meaning-maker make us fearless afterall? that’s not even really logical), then we are less likely to survive. That is, we’re fucked. So if we’re using romance to avoid fear about ourselves and our lives – the romance is a drug - and we’re even more fucked.
We’re fucked because eventually, the fear comes back, and if the romance is dependent on the absence of fear, it’s a no-win. The same way sobriety always comes back, you can’t stay high forever. Fear and sobriety – natural parts of human life. To try and avoid them means you have seriously badfucked yourself in a big way.
If I can have all of my feelings, good and bad, fearful and strong and curious, within the context of a romantic relationship, then that takes a no-win situation and makes it a win-win. It means I get my real feelings, all of them, and I get a kickass romance high interspersed to-boot, and I can have it all until…the end of time, if I so choose. I dig that as far as outcomes (or endings) go.
It also means, if I’m breathing and having my real feelings, it will be obvious exactly how intimate the relationship really is – I do not set myself up to fool myself into thinking it’s great – the addict falling of the proverbial wagon, convincing himself it will be different this time. This is no small thing because when I start fooling myself, pretending that the relationship high is really higher than it is and chasing the buzz, that’s when I am most susceptible to the fuckery and foolery of others.
So the breath is really good for romantic relationships (possibly even an aphrodisiac) because:
- it keeps you in touch and doesn’t let you lie to yourself
- not lying to yourself keeps you from getting lied to by others
- breath feels fantastic on pretty much all skin…which is essential to romance, too
*note: (if you care to know who I like to read and listen to message me, but there is tons of this breathing/meditation stuff around and public libraries are full of it – sample the shit out of a wide variety and pick what you like; then spend 20-100$ on your favorite cd/books and it’ll fit *you*)