To draw in air and expel it from the lungs. To take in oxygen and give out carbon dioxide through natural processes.
We do it from birth. The first sign of life. It sustains us.
As a young teen I can remember lying still in my bed holding my breath; and when I couldn't hold it any longer, I tried to draw the shallowest of shallow breaths. I wanted to breathe so shallow that it looked like I wasn't breathing at all. As if it would make me disappear and suddenly no one could see me. Like I didn't exist.
Because I felt like I didn't count. Faceless and insignificant. Lifeless.
Over the past 30 years I've actually retrained myself to breathe that way. Slow. Shallow. Minimal.
The first time I really thought about this was during my MBSR classes. It was the first time in many years that I would consciously draw a deep breath. This natural process was so foreign to me that it would cause a tingling rush throughout my body. It felt awkward and unnatural to feel my chest rise and fall as I inhaled and exhaled. I felt as though everyone was looking at me .... pointing .... laughing. I tried to be more mindful of deep breathing, but like most other things in my life, I wasn't very successful. As soon as I became angry or upset, I regressed.
Today I start breathing.
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