“I stopped sucking in my stomach three days ago.”
My wife laid her knitting in her lap and just looked at me for a good long while. I couldn’t imagine what was going on in there but her eyes were soft with a mix of amusement, interest, and perhaps even understanding. She knows me so well, often my epiphanies aren’t news to her. It seemed as if she might be waiting for me to offer more explanation. Like sunrise and gravity, I can usually be counted on for more words.
I had nothing more.
I didn’t understand what was going on with me but I was clear that something was unfolding, that a subtle yet persistent healing was underway. One little lesson after the next slipped into my consciousness–like random pieces of a puzzle without a box lid to reveal their intention. The theme was clear. I was healing, recovering from whatever caused me to stop breathing.
I don’t breathe regularly. I hold my breath. I do it when I’m scared or sad or nervous or excited or happy or confused… I hold my breath. Then, I gasp for air, sigh, yawn, or whatever other technique my body eventually has to use to overcome my habit of not breathing. I don’t know when it started or even why but it’s been this way for as long as I can recall.
While working my way through countless self-improvement puzzles over the years, the pieces of the breathe puzzle kept popping up. I’d accept them and set them aside, not knowing what in the world they were for. On the evening in question, I was suddenly aware that the pile of pieces accumulating beside me actually held a message. There was a point to all of it and although I didn’t understand, my certainty that it was important far outweighed the ridiculousness of whispering, “I stopped sucking in my stomach three days ago.”
Next: Strengthening the core