Wednesday Within: This Will Save Me

Crazy-breath-mask-923023-lI am a woman of great passions.  Some of them, like writing and reading, have lasted a lifetime. Others, like gardening or knitting, wax and wane.  And still others (Jazzercise, anyone?) have their brief moment in the sun with me and then I lose interest.

And then there are the things I find that I'm certain will save me.  Things like an eating or exercise plan. Or some kind of meditation.  A different kind of prayer.  A new book that has all the answers!  If only I follow the directions exactly, I will be a new person.  

The problem is, I'm not at all good at following directions.

I've been through all kinds of food plans, the most recent being the Paleo diet my daughter is forever trying to foist on me (love you, sweetie).  France made me ditch that one (no bread allowed on Paleo). To be fair, I do lean towards eating this way, I just hate following externally-imposed rules.   I could go on and on about how I was certain that making home-made sauerkraut and consuming raw milk kefir would be the answer to all my problems, or how running three times a week was just the ticket, or how attending church would remake me.

Okay, so that last one actually has worked pretty well.  But turns out there's only a few kinds of sauerkraut I like the taste of, raw milk is illegal in Oregon, and running is really, really hard on my knees.  And yet, the momentary obessions continue.

Do you do this? Please tell me you do this.

But, just because I'm in a revelatory mood, here are my latest obsessions: the ukelele, bone broth and breathing.  I've not made much progress with the uke yet, though my friend Kate has leant me one and I am entranced with these videos.  NEED LINKS.  Apparently, ukeleles are a thing. And part of that thing is gathering together and playing and I really like that idea.

Bone broth you can probably live without, though I'm convinced it is going to save my afore-mentioned knee problems which are really lower back problems caused by one leg being shorter than the other.  I make it in the slow cooker with bones, amazingly enough, and vegies and let it simmer for 24 hours.  I'll spare you more on that.  But read this link if you are interested.

But we do need to talk about breathing.

Because it is something we all should be paying attention to.  I'm quite sure it impacts our writing, because it impacts everything.  Think how amazing–we don't have to stop and ponder how to breathe, it just happens.  But along the way we get into some bad breathing habits.  I tend to be a breath catcher.  I lightly hold my breath in my throat and my stomach, and I do this when I'm writing. I've looked at it a lot, trying to figure out where this habit arose, and I think it has to do with excitement.  You know how you catch your breath when something exciting happens?  Like that.  And I get excited when I'm writing, so this habit has resulted.  (It's not just when I'm writing, either, I find myself doing it all the time.)

I've read estimates saying that most of us use only 10% of our full breathing capacity.  Yet, because it is our breath, and we do it unconsciously most of the time, we don't think much about it.  But imagine how you would feel if you were only eating 10% of the food you need?  Or getting 10% of the sleep you require?  Yeah, not so good.

The easiest way to breath better is simply to take full, deep breaths whenever you find yourself catching your breath or chest breathing (a good, deep breath goes all the way into your belly).  You can also commit to taking 20 deep breaths three times a day if that suits you.  It's so simple, really–yet since breathing is at the basis of all our life, you'll find results such as increased energy, more ability to focus, and a tuned-up metabolism.

Ask the Google for more information.  A good place to start is here.

What is "saving" you these days?

Image by hypertypos.

And a quick addition: My friend Kevin Johns interviewed me for a podcast and it just went live! Listen here, and read my review of his book here.

11 thoughts on “Wednesday Within: This Will Save Me”

  1. Um,…have you been reading my journal? Are you in my head?? Perhaps are we twins separated at birth (and by a couple years:))??! Charolette- I truly believe that anyone who denies looking to outward “things” to help, aid, fix, or at the very least give hope to our lives is oozing with lies and denial.

    I will say, in recent years (even months) I have gotten better with integrating certain activities into my life as simply a part of who I am. I don’t look to what others are doing, and try to expect myself to be at the same level I perceive that person is at. With this, I’m referring to my running and fitness programs. I have to take my own limits, and goals into consideration and be realistic in them. This is the first winter I have taken running out of my regimen and not felt guilty about it. I am not a winter runner. Never have been. Never will be. And I will not run on a treadmill. Therefore- I have brought other training habits into my life for the winter months to better prepare myself for my early spring training, when it comes. I will no longer consider myself “not a runner anymore” because I’m simply taking time off. I am still a runner.

    This explanation brings me to my point. Sometimes we put too much emphasis or stock into an external force to do magic it simply cannot do on it’s own. It’s how you integrate into your life, what expectations, and how you plan to make said program, thing, whatever it is work for you. You cannot simply say, I will drink this bone broth and it will fix my knees. I truly believe you have to say, because I drink bone broth, my knees feel better. (That is if drinking the broth is what you do!:)). It’s our mindset.

    I still have work to do. I’m not like this in all areas.

    For instance, a work friend of mine recently brought in some homemade lotion for me to try. It. Was. WONDERFUL. for days I’ve craved more of the stuff, and did some research. I found the recipe on Pinterest, and am now making it by the vat here at home. You know what my son said? “Great, in a month there’s gonna be all kinds of that stuff leftover and not used because you’ll decide it doesn’t work as well as you thought”. OUCH. he could be right. Or I can give the stuff away.

  2. Oh God, Dona, we were separated at birth.  I cracked up when I read your son's comment–that could so easily have happened at my house, too!  My family is used to–and indulgent, I hope–of all my passing fancies.  I like to consider it the mark of a creative mind.  But it embarrases me, too.  I really loved what you wrote about running and the mental shift you have made about it.  We so often just beat ourselves up about these things instead of thinking about it differently.  An example in my life: I am a lifelong walker, but with my knee my legs sometimes hurt when I walk.  Finally-duh-it occurred to me that instead of complaining about it, I could figure out a different way to exercise.  So now I'm in the market for a used stationary bicycle.  Happy Thanksgiving to you, my friend!

  3. Oh, this makes me feel so much better.
    I went to an expensive personal trainer for the past year, which was going to fix all my physical problems. (I did learn not to hate exercise quite so much, and how to do it without hurting myself).
    I periodically go low-carb, which sheds pounds but I hate it.
    Other things that are always going to save me: StoryADay; NaNoWriMo; my word-count accountability sheet; Pinterest “Printables” that will make me a domestic goddess; new appointment books; office supplies; Ikea.

    Oh, and I have a bunch of ingredients for ‘bath bombs’ I should probably send to Dyoung…. 😉

  4. Julie- I may need to follow you on Pinterest! Printables are a passion of mine as well. I have two three ring binders full of them. Scratch paper still seems to be my “go-to” not wanting to mess up the pretty printables I spent time and printer ink on…..craziness.

    Good news to report- my lotion is still working wonderfully, and I even got my daughter and a couple of my sisters in laws hooked! I expect the fad to last at least until Christmas:)

    I appreciate what Charolette said about all of this being a result of a creative mind. I too sometimes become embarrassed because of certain no follow throughs, or quickly passing fads I bring on myself, but tying that back to the creative mind, to me, is a compliment and sort of a standard some people wish to strive for, right?!

  5. All humor aside, I do fervently believe that our passions and passing fancies are because of a creative mind and are something to be celebrated. Think of all the people in the world who never seem to get interested in anything. Failure of the imagination. I rest my case.

  6. And those are the types of people I just shake my head at. Those perpetually content people first aggravate me, but then I just walk away….

  7. My sporadic obsession is usually drawing/painting. The first 20+ years of my life were spent at art classes and my family thought for sure I had a career as an illustrator/graphic designer. But now the tables have turned and most of my time is spent writing stories and music, and drawing is my random recreational outlet. I’ve lost a lot of my skill in that field because I just don’t have the passion for it anymore like I do with writing and music. I find that if I try to divide my time “professionally” between those three fields, I spread myself too thin and never get anything done. Sometimes just balancing the writing and music life, as well as the day job, is a lot. But in a sick twisted way I like being overwhelmed by all my little projects. It makes me feel like I’m growing and progressing. For a few years I tried to give up all that and have a “real” job and a “regular” life, I stopped creating altogether, and I’d never been so depressed. Even if one activity takes a backseat for a little while, as long as I have something else to work towards, I’ll be all right.

    Also, ukulele is totally fun. If you learn just three or four chords you can play just about anything. When I need a break from writing, especially music, learning somebody else’s songs gives me a fresh take on storytelling.

  8. I actually like having a lot of projects going at once, also. I do think it is a fallacy that you have to devote all your creative energy to one field, though my greatest passion is definitely for writing. It is the one thing that I’ve never, ever gotten bored with. And I think the uke is going to be just my speed! A fun little distraction!

  9. Casey- your first paragraph….totally me too. Years ago I quit everything and tried joining the corporate life. The all American “dream job” in the big city. I was never more depressed and lifeless. I absolutely hated every minute of it. I quit almost as quick as I started. Went back to school, finished my degree at the time, and kept the company of other creatives. Haven’t seen that particular slump since.

    Lots of projects- even those left undone- going on at once–perfection, in an odd blissful way.

  10. I had a job once, years ago, in an office.  I lasted two days.  Never looked back since then.  The free-lance creative life has meant for a few lean years, but I'd never do it any other way.  I'm just not suited for the corporate world.

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