Wednesday 23 November 2011

Better things to do with a windpipe than strangling it...

There are some days I just want to strangle. I feel like grabbing them by the windpipe and just squeezing harder and harder until they hold up their pathetic little flailing hands in surrender. I don’t get many like that now but every so often I feel this leviathan scream welling in my throat.  
This morning I have been trying to sort out accounts.  I hate this crap. I really do. I hate the way you have to beg and scrape and scrounge and whine and shout to get the cash you have worked for. I hate that I have to do this crappy work in order to pay the ever-increasing sodding bills.  And sometimes I just want to…well... be elsewhen. 

Anyhow, this morning I had possibly THE most asinine series of emails I have ever had from ANYONE from an accounts department of a large magazine group which steadily made my blood boil until I could barely trust myself to respond without cursing the stupid unhelpful uncaring bland thick as pigshit shit to seven shades of Hell. And no, I'm not saying ALL people in accounts departments are like that - just this particular arsebiscuit.  And Asbo was barking non-stop and and and and…. 

And then I thought. What would my quasi-guru say? 
Oh yeah... 


So…hang on a bit.  I’ll be back...
Aaaah.  That’s better.  And really, that was what kickstarted this whole journey. Well, it was a big part of it.  Cos Marek is big on breathing.  And I have always been small and crap at it. 

My lungs and I have never had an easygoing relationship.  Off ill from school all the time with bronchitis.  Hospitalised with pneumonia.  Any happy-go-lucky virus around would lick its lips and go ‘Hey guys, weak spot alert!’ and lunge for my lungs.  You could argue it had a good deal to do with living in damp houses with parents who smoked. Or then again you could say it had to do with a deep ambivalence about being here in the first place.  Cos I had had that, all my life.  Never quite felt ‘here’, not earthed, not grounded.  Not in a despair way, not in a suicidal way, just in a ‘don’t really feel I belong’ way.  And really, if you're not breathing fully and deeply, isn't that a bit of a body metaphor for not gulping in life? 

The first piece I ever wrote for a national paper was on rebirthing, for The Guardian. Way back. I can still remember punching the air when I got the commission, in my funny little North London house. I can’t, however, remember how I got interested in rebirthing in the first place but I had a trial session and ended up having a course of ten; followed the whole thing for quite a long while before I became disillusioned. When? Maybe after I took Adrian to a Sondra Ray LRT training and (while he loved the breathing, strangely enough) he stormed out halfway through, saying the whole immortality thing and the loving everyone thing was total crap. I guess it was a bit of a deal-breaker between us and so...

Anyhow. Let's backtrack. It was when I was watching my parents having sex during rebirthing (okay, let me just add that I wasn’t physically in the room; you go into a trance state and return to the time before your conception – Milla, you have full permission to wander off until tea-time; and no, they weren't having sex while rebirthing - I was doing the rebirthing bit) I realised that, no, I really really REALLY didn’t want to get born at all.  No sirree.  And sometimes I still feel that way. Not so often nowadays, not so much since this last year of wonderful weirdness, but still...sometimes.  I just become so...detached.  
But breathing helps. J

Okay, so I’ve lost a whole swathe of you now, haven’t I?  *sigh*.  No!  Don’t sigh. Breathe…  You don't have to believe in rebirthing, or immortality, or the business of seeing your conception. No, really, truly you don't have to watch your parents having sex!  Not right now anyhow...  For now...just breathe. 
Because breathing plugs you into the here and now. Breathing is an affirmation of life.  It is, it is, it is.  But really, just spend a bit of time every day becoming conscious of your breathing, how you breathe. Some people freak out when they try it.  It's powerful stuff.  Brings up all sorts.
“Lie down on the grass, Feel the earth breathing…” said my guru.  And, for sure, the earth breathes… Listen. Feel…

“Just sit down and breathe. Slowly, regularly, with every inhale and exhale forming a perfect circle,” he said.  

And I try. I try.  One night he got me breathing consciously for about three hours non-stop and oh my, you should have seen the things I saw in my head that time…and eventually I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed nigh-on fifty years of grief out of me in one fell swoop and felt cleansed, renewed…shattered yet clearer.
You wanna try it?  Nah, not a three-hour marathon but a taster?  There are conscious breathing techniques in pretty well every mystical tradition and ancient culture under the sun and moon but the one that rebirthing uses is to keep the inhale and the exhale the same length, without a pause between. Conscious, slow, regular.  

You may go a little light-headed.  It may feel strange.  But, hey, why not try?  Or not…Or try a different form of breathing. Just breathe! Consciously. Or don't!  it’s entirely up to you!
As Marek says in Symphonic Bridges.  ‘…There are so many other aspects of life, which are crucial for you and absolutely worth experiencing. Especially those regarding your health and happiness. Therefore, you should not take for granted what others say about positive thinking, conscious breathing, meditation, vegetarianism, fasting, fire walking, and so on. Just go ahead and try them, for sake’s sake! Your own experience of the given thingies can be different from what you’ve heard. Everybody is an individual being, you know.’

Thingies... I love that. *smile* 
Exits stage left, breathing...

Breathing Session

And reflections
On the walls
Of crystal palaces
And vast spaces
In my room
Breathe deeply
And close your eyes

I get the answer
Prior to a question
When I open up all my mind
Flying into Light
I keep on breathing
Through pain and heavy air
Past burdens and gravity
I leave behind
Approaching weightlessness

Copyright © Marek Stefanowicz 1990


Sessha Batto said...

Breathing is the core of my day, mindful breathing pulls me back from the brink of despair and settles my racing heart when I'm angry . . . just breathe is the best motto I can think of and *gasp* every single person can do it, no fuss, no muss, no years of training. Such excellent advice, as always!!

Exmoorjane said...

@Sessh... so why is it so few people do it (consciously)? I'm as bad. I have to remind myself on a permanent basis...or sometimes Marek pops up and says 'Breathe' :) Not my advice, btw...I'm still learning... ;)

Kim Bennett said...

Yes, I'm a bit of a breather too. Especially this last year. Nice rant, btw x

Exmoorjane said...

@Kim - yay! Breathe on! Re rant...thanks *blush* (heavily edited version btw). :)

Young at Heart said...

yes yes yes must must must remember to breath!!!!

Exmoorjane said...

@YAH - *smile*

Cait O'Connor said...

I empathise with you Jane in your early life, lung problems, not feeling earthed etc. This post made for very interesting reading. I am a shallow breather and must make more of an effort to breathe deeply and consciously.

F said...

I am all worked up over copyright vs. moral rights of the creator vs. profit rights today.

I will breathe now.

AnnFoweraker said...

Oh breathing, so good! At the end of our belly-dance sessions in the warm-down we lie and breathe - "breathe deep into the belly, letting the earth take our weight,feeling connected, time just for ourselves, breathing in energy, breathing out anything that worries us, weighs us down" and you know it is just such a good feeling, a perfect time, we all say its one of the best parts of the belly dance session!(though truth be told we wouldn't miss the energy and fun from the active part either)