Friday, October 16, 2009

Deep Breaths


Emerson at Rosh Hashanah

This month has been building momentum, like a frothing wave curling up behind me. The giant wall of water paused long enough for me to realize that I was going to drown. And then it came crashing down full force.

Back in my brief newspaper days, I earned the title of my generation's Andy Rooney. I didn't dress in bad brown suits or begin my columns with, "Have you ever wondered what the deal is with (fill in the blank)?" but I might as well have. I was and still am a champion complainer. A Debbie Downer. A glass half-empty kind of gal. I even preached once on the positive power of negative thinking - with mixed results.

All this is to say, I am going to do my best not to detail all my complaints. It's been a ....full few weeks. I've been dealing with births, death, weddings and a sermon. I've watched with excitement as Emerson achieved new milestones like giving up the bottle for good and making progress in speech therapy. I've also resisted the urge to smash his precious noggin as we battle over potty training and his epic temper tantrums. I've been trying to figure out where the hell I am as a mother and where the hell I'm going as a minister.

The other day, I had a dream that I was given a package of cigarettes and for some reason I had to smoke them all in a short period of time. I HATE anything even remotely connected with smoking. I will readily admit I'm the type that exaggerates my coughs and sends death lasers out of my eyes every time I pass a smoker. I have never tried smoking- the closest I came was after a night of sipping wine when I decided to play the empowered female and smoke a cigar with a group of men. Except I couldn't even get the nerve to pull the smoke into my mouth much less inhale. (insert Clinton joke here)

Despite all this, I have to admit that the act of sucking in and then exhaling deep billows of smoke was immensely satisfying. I luxuriated in the motions of it and felt completely relaxed despite my imaginary deadline to finish them all quickly. After I woke up from this dream, I spent the rest of the morning trying to figure out why this came to mind. Somewhere in the middle of a walk through the neighborhood in a failed attempt to get the boys to nap, I realized it was the deep breathing that I found so relaxing. I tried it, sucking in the brisk Fall air and then exhaling slowly. Obviously it only created a ghostly steam instead of the dark plumes of smoke in my dream, but it was still satisfying.

In all my attempts to stay afloat, the easiest solution was right there - just keep breathing. Deeply. It's sad that as a minister in training I so often forget the most universal of relaxation techniques, but at least my subconscious and Philip Morris teamed up to remind me.

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3 comments:

Cassi's Mom said...

I just finished watching Barbara Ehrenreich on "The Daily Show" talking about her new book "Brightsided", which discusses the idea that going around being positive and cheerful all the time actually does any good. She doesn't think it does. So maybe you're on to something. By the way how do you know those were "regular" cigarettes? Just wondering.

Sara said...

Even though I am usually Miss Positive sometimes it feels good to just say... "this sucks"... but I feel fits in nicely with your smoking theme. :)

Christina said...

I don't think I realized how stressful being in grad school was as a mom until after I finished. I hope you are nearing the end. Good luck with everything.