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.