Monday, October 22, 2007

Breath as vital distraction

I know there are people out there who like pain. I'm not one of them. I'm not talking about a nibble here or a pinch there in the name of good fun, but the kind of pain that makes me whimper. Migraines. Menstrual cramps. Stubbed toes (I bet you winced). Damaged knees. Kidney stones. And my new discovery, scratched corneas. Yuck.

But there is something about that lingering, persistent presence that forces a discipline I don't otherwise often rise to. I hurt. Pills don't help, sleep won't come and I'm having trouble distracting myself. I can't escape it. Crying doesn't work nor does talking about it. So what can I do?

I breath. Slow deep breaths, in and out. I concentrate on what doesn't hurt. I focus on the fine details of cloth against my skin, air rushing through my lungs, the temperature of the room. Anything in this moment except that which is the focal point of my existence. If I do a good enough job of breathing there is a chance I will survive through this moment, through this pain.

I wish I could remember to breath through pain more often, not just in those awful moments of physical distress. I sometimes remember to take deep breaths when I'm upset, when I need to keep my mouth shut. I fill myself with cool air so I don't explode with all the heat inside and the words best left unsaid come out in a searing wash. I sometimes remember to breathe when I'm sad or lonely, but not often enough.

I know taking deep breaths isn't the cure for every kind of pain, but it might help if I did it more often. It might help me survive the remaining year and a half of the current administration. It might help me remember to be kind as a first reaction, not after a pause. It might help me just feel better and avoid future pain.

(c) 2007 Laura Packer Creative Commons License

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True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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