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The Gift of Breath

Last week’s therapy session left me a lot to mull over. I left there with a lot of questions, a lot of doubts, and a big ol pile of ‘I don’t know’. All in all, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with any of it. However, after a week of sorta mulling it over (only sorta, because my schedule has been hectic with the move) I’ve not made a lot of progress. However, there is something I can say with complete certainty:

I love the act of breathing.

When I was first told to breathe when my brain started to freak out, I kinda laughed. I scoffed at the idea. “Really? My brain is on OVERDRIVE when this happens, and you expect my breathing and counting to ten to solve it? Please.” I spent a lot of time after my last session talking with people on how I could get my mental flurries under control. And ironically, every single suggestion that was given to me made me laugh. I scoffed at all of it. I thought it was all stupid. Even some of my most trusted friends gave me advice that I mentally laughed at. I really couldn’t understand why I was so adverse to fixing my issues. However, because one of my friends was really adamant about how it would help, I decided to do it anyways, even though my brain was totally telling me that this was entirely stupid and a waste of time.

So I began to breathe. I also began to try my friend’s technique of relaxing and focusing at night. And I can say that the few times I’ve done both of these (see statement of hectic schedule above) has made a difference already. Many times I will feel a surge of emotion coming on, and I will begin to breath and count. Sometimes, I won’t even get to 5 before I feel better. There are times when I will be on two, and my mind will try to go back down the emotional path, and I’ll have to start over again at one. It’s not perfect yet, but it is helping.

Breathing is awesome.

I think this raises an interesting point, though. Sometimes your brain is wrong. And last week, my brain was totally throwing a temper tantrum about breathing, about focus, about giving up the emotional roller coaster that I had been on for the past few weeks. Now mind you, I’m not out of the woods yet, but I think it’s a step in the right direction. And this whole point really sticks in my mind, because I wonder where I’d be had I not listened to my friend. Did what she said and actually tried everything. Many times in Kemeticism/Paganism, we hear a lot of people talking about doing ‘what feels good’. “I don’t do that, because it doesn’t feel right to me”. Well what if your brain is making you feel things that are counter productive? What if your mind is being a three year old who wants candy, and will make you feel (and therefore do) things that are unproductive until you give it that candy? Watching my reactions this past week has really made me think about this.

I haven’t made a lot of ground on my other assignments, but I think the mental clarity will really help me to start understanding the other things on my plate. Slow and steady wins the race. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to breathe.

 

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The Wave Rises

Last weekend was another therapy session. This time we were in the new office. It was nice to have a change in scenery.

We started the session off by discussing our new apartment. There are issues with the apartment that me and my SO have issue with, and she discussed with me how there is perfection in imperfection. Sometimes, we try so hard to create this pretty picture that is in our head, and in so doing, we end up making things even worse. Which I can understand. Luckily, my SO has gotten a bit more laid back about the state of the apt. Hopefully that will be resolved soon.

After discussing that, I brought up a topic that has been bothering me for a long time now. It’s some weird ‘ailment’ that I’ve had since I was probably a child, but I’ve learned to ignore it more or less. On 3-11, I went to a film screening relating to the Great East quake in Japan. It was a documentary not only showing footage during the tsunami, but also showed how Japan and the Japanese have dealt with the loss and destruction that was wrought. It was painfully sad to watch, yet inspiring in other ways. I knew before going that I might have an issue with it. That I might have an emotional breakdown in the middle of the theatre. However, I went anyways. I went for a friend, and I was kinda interested in seeing what the movie was about.

And in retrospect, I am glad I went, and I regret that I went. It was very bitter sweet, the whole thing. I am glad for what the movie gave me- which is perspective. It showed me how I should be grateful for more. How many of us are missing the point entirely. We are so caught up in all of these physical trappings… and for what? To watch these people’s lives completely torn apart by this huge wave… it really shifted how I view things. In the documentary, there was a guy who lost his life over his car. Instead of running up the mountainside with his friend (to escape the ever rising wave), he ran back to he new car- because it was new and expensive. And this guy watched his best friend die. Over a car. I think this really embodies what a lot of people I know are like. We are so caught up in our stuff, we miss the real meaning of being here.

So for that, I am glad I went.

However, the first 5 – 10 minutes of the movie is real footage that a group of Japanese captured from a hillside. You watch this water roll in. And roll in. And roll in some more. You think it’s going to stop, but it never does. You listen to these people screaming for their lost family members (because they know that their family members are now under that water somewhere). You watch these people running up the hill to try and get away, only to have them sucked up by the wave. It leaves a mark. It left such a mark on me, I can’t even think about it without getting upset.

And it is this that I wanted to talk to her about. For many many many years now, I’ve had an issue where I have these waves of overpowering emotions. Sometimes it will be triggered by a movie such as this, or it will be triggered by something as simple as a song on the radio (some of which are not sad songs, and other songs I don’t even know the words to, yet I have a reaction). Other times, I will have this wave while reading an article in the newspaper (and sometimes the articles aren’t sad, or it’s a happy spin on a sad story). People can tell me stories, and I get upset. And I mean really upset. And while I’m sure that everyone else in that theatre was sad to see that movie, I would be surprised if many of them shed tears over it nearly every day for the week following.

When I told her about this issue I have, she told me that I have extreme empathy (specifically, extreme empathy for pain and suffering). I have no clue if this is what I have. Most people I know with empathy react to people around them. They feel the emotions around them, or people they are close to… and I don’t know if that’s what I’ve got. It almost seems that anything with a strong emotional background or footprint makes me react. I wish it wouldn’t. It’s debilitating. She continued this by saying that everything is controlled by karma. The bad has to balance out the good. And that until I could really accept the balance, I would continue to have problems. Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about that. I can’t justify killing 15,000 people with a tsunami. I don’t care who they were in their past lives. I do believe that bad things happen. Sometimes they happen for good reasons (to cause good changes in the world) and sometimes they just happen without any reason at all. I also grasp that in order for life to continue, things have to ultimately die, or be destroyed. Art is all about destruction and creation. And in order to fuel my body, I must kill things (plant, animal or otherwise). So I understand this exchange, but I don’t know what part it plays in my emotional roller coaster. Nor what to do about it.

After we discussed that, we started the hypnosis. It was to help me calm down and to realize that I need to take a break and have me time from time to time. I honestly don’t remember a whole lot about it. I didn’t zonk out for this hypnosis, but I don’t remember a lot of imagery being associated with it. I remember the key part of the hypnosis was to breath. When things start to upset me, I need to breath. Which is easier said than done. Specifically, I need to breath and count to ten. Long breaths, so it’s more like counting to 30.

My other homework assignment was to look at my relationship. To see how we complete each other, how we play off of one another. How we push each other to grow, etc. I have a basis for this (I know there are a lot of ways in which my SO has caused me to grow and change for the better), but I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be looking at it from another angle, or something else. I imagine it’ll become clearer in time.

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2012 in Astral, Crack, Hypnosis & Inner Work

 

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