In and out

I sat down on the couch tonight at approximately 9:50pm after being on my feet in the kitchen nearly the entire evening. My lower back and heels ached from standing so much all day, especially in the evening that when I sat down, I instantly felt relief. I had sweat dripping down the back of my thighs, on the small of my back and between my breasts because of working so close to the warm oven all night. My legs were immediately glued to the couch because my sweat acted as a sticky agent that worked against me. I was/am well spent.

Today I baked pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, chocolate chip cheesecake brownies, three pie crusts and two pies (I will be making the final pie tomorrow) for the benefit of other people. With the exception of the muffin I ate this morning, I doubt I'll taste any of the final products, and that's okay. My world is best when it is lost in service. And I am very good at serving with food. I suppose you can call it my specialty.

As I sat on the couch to relax for a minute and read a few passages from the Bible in preparation of Sunday's Sunday school lesson, I felt my chest inhale and exhale deeply. I realized it was the first time I had taken a deep breath in hours. Does that ever happen to you? You get busy, lost if you will, with life that you forget to breathe. I guess you breathe enough to get by, but you don't breathe enough to get whole and feel renewed.

I remember visiting with my counselor at BYU when I was working though my eating disorder, and he taught me to breathe. When he asked me if I knew how to breathe, I laughed right in his old, wrinkled face. Did I know how to breathe? Well, yes, of course I knew. But I was wrong. I don't think I ever took a single deep breath before the age of 24. I sat there in his quiet, basement office with my eyes closed listening to him teach me how to gather all the air in the room and hold it for a few seconds before releasing it back into its original space. In and out. In and out. I nearly transported myself to another place and time while sitting in that hard, wooden chair.

Breathing, true breathing, is exhilarating. I learned that that day. I learned my body was weak. I let it be weak by filling my days with a million unimportant things that made it very easy to forget about taking care of myself. Therapy session after therapy session, I grew stronger.

But it's been years since I've seen a counselor. And with the exception of running and eating decently well, I don't really take care of my body. I've forgotten to breathe deeply. It was so apparent tonight. I closed my eyes and let my body stick to the couch and I tuned out the Patriots game in the background, and I just let my chest rise and fall over and over again.

In and out. In and out. I will teach my body to be strong again, one breath at a time.

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