Just Breathe...easier said than done sometimes. When I was a little girl my Mother insisted that all of us kids take swimming lessons. I was the only stubborn one. She enrolled me in class after class and I refused to learn. Looking back I have no idea what I was thinking. When I finally passed I thought all was good but not for my Mother. She took me to the local High School (Ben Davis) and asked the coach to watch me swim. I got in the olympic sized pool and swam a lap while they both looked on. When I finished I heard the coach say to my Mother "she just swam that entire lap without taking one breath!" My Mother said, "can you teach my daughter how to breathe?" He did and I went on to become a good strong swimmer thanks to the persistance of my Mother.
I remembered this story when a twitter friend of mine mentioned that she needed to learn how to breathe while doing pilates. I guess we all need to learn how to breathe and yet we take it for granted on a day to day basis.
I am not talking about those moments in life that take your breath away like seeing the beauty in a rainbow, having the one you love tell you he/she loves you for the very first time or even sharing a joyous moment with a good friend. What I am talking about is the devastation that we endure throughout our lives that takes our breath away. This might be learning of a friend's suicide in high school, hearing (out of the blue) you spouse tell you he/she wants a divorce, learning about a friend's life altering medical diagnosis or putting your pet of 15 years down so he no longer is suffering.
The day that really took my breath away was the first day TJ & I met with his oncologist. He did not want to tell TJ his prognosis but TJ insisted he tell him. The doctor sat down in a chair next to TJ's hospital bed and said to us "This is exceptionally difficult for me because you & I are the same age. There is a less than 5% chance you will be around a year from now. Make sure your affairs are in order." That took my breath away like no other moment in my life has or ever will! Somehow I managed to eek out a "thank you" to the doc as he walked out the door..thanks for what I don't know but at the time it seemed an appropriate thing to say. TJ & I both were so stunned that neither one of us could speak or even cry. I curled up in bed with him and for a good 30 minutes nothing was said. What is there to say at that point? We knew it was cancer and we knew it was bad, but we kept telling ourselves that people beat the odds all the time, but that was before we were told the odds we were up against. When I finally was able to breathe again I got out of his hospital bed and went over to the window, I still did not know what to say to him.
So, next time you are in a pilates class, swimming, exercising in general or are faced with something in life that is devastating....just breathe.
To have become a deeper man is the privilege of those who have suffered ~ Oscar Wilde