Skip to content

Breathe

Not knowing where to start, I started at the beginning, with me.

I’ve noticed that I have the bad habit of shallow breathing. I decided to create space within my own body to breathe in and, most importantly, to breathe out.

I was inspired (you see what I did there) to start here by an article I read recently from NPR, titled “When You Burn Off That Fat, Where Does It Go?”

I know, from years of starting yoga classes and quitting six months later, as well as from multiple episodes recovering from anesthesia, and from being ever so slightly asthmatic, that breathing is important, and that breathing out is more important.

On January 1, I lay in bed long enough to breathe in — deeply — hold my breath (count eight) — and e x h a l e s l o w l y one hundred times.

My ribs were sore from stretching against the still-tight scars from surgery, and so was my stomach. I felt lightheaded and mildly euphoric. I spent the next two days coughing up gunk from the very bottom of my lungs. My posture improved. I felt taller. I felt — not stronger — but more powerful.

Panic subsided.

I can do this.

Not all at once, but one task at a time. One breath at a time.

Creating Space

Each year, I make one resolution, and I keep it.

This year, my resolution was to create space in my life so that the things that matter would stand out. When I posted it on Facebook, a couple of different friends asked that I let people know how it went.

I thought about making a new blog to document my endeavor, but that seemed to undermine the whole concept of creating space, so instead, I’m going to write about it here, on the blog I already have.

Great resolutions of the past have been to not hang out with people I don’t like, drink more, and watch more television (hello Game of Thrones!), to wear red nail polish, not to look like hell all the time, to spend a year not dating (I was 23), and to not drink a single gin and tonic 12 months, but instead to drink the girliest of girly drinks (hello Amaretto Sour!)

I’m back to G&Ts, but in the summer only, reserving the winter months for Manhattans; I don’t wear any nail polish at all, but at least I don’t feel bad about it; my signature style has changed from “I had cancer, I don’t care if I look like hell” to “My clothes match and my hair is brushed;” I still don’t watch enough television.

I hope this year’s resolution turns out to be of the good ones.

The Bionic Boob Story

Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites are putting me back in touch with nearly everyone with whom I have ever been friends. It’s the blessing of our time.

In my case, I find I keep saying, “I have bionic boobs because cancer.” Eventually I will post a picture of them on this blog and then you will all see what I mean. I have the best plastic surgeon in the world.

From my point of view, it’s an old story that can be told in six words. I don’t think about it much, except to wonder sometimes whether I should wear a bra.

Naah.

Yep, That Stinks

I’ve gotten good at activating my verbal filter when people complain about their infirmities.

Just because I had cancer doesn’t mean that your cold is not completely miserable. I’m sorry. I really am.

The normal ravages of aging appear to be difficult for you to handle. I’m sorry.

How’s this for some context.

Holy Mackerel, you have had a debilitating headache for the better part of a decade and you have managed to achieve all kinds of awesome things in that time? Hats off. And oh, your medical problem? I shudder at the thought. Yeah, this is one person in particular, and you are the inspiration for this post.

Your kid died and you haven’t gone insane? You inspire me to be a better, kinder, wiser person every minute of every day and don’t think you are ever far from my heart and prayers. All of you. Even if you don’t know that I know about your child.

You struggle with depression? I’m sorry. No, really, I am. I don’t even know what to say except hang in there.

Your autoimmune disease? I can’t even imagine it. And I love you.

Syria. Sudan. Guns, so many of them, going off accidentally or worse, on purpose, and blowing apart the bodies of our children.

It’s easy to compare ailments and see where we stand on the spectrum that goes from bad to worse. It’s even easier to tell people that their attitude makes a difference, and the fact that there is a sliver of a hair of truth in that last statement makes it all the crueler.

I don’t even know what the truth is, but what I believe is that life is both hard and beautiful, and there’s no explaining the measure with which it is poured out for each one of us.

For so many of us, faith in God is the anchor that tethers us to our better selves during times of crisis. Does God send us challenges to test and teach us? I don’t think so. I think it’s just life and that any attempt to draw meaning from it all is a lie.

What, then, is the truth? I don’t know.

 

Paint

I’m in the middle of a small-to-medium scale painting job: staining our mantle (a huge chunk of wood) black. I’m using gel stain which goes on right over paint. The smell is terrible, and it’s messy, but I think in the end it will have been worth it.

Quiet

I’m having a quiet day. It’s raining, and projects are either too big to start, or else done.

I am deliberately sitting in silence.

I don’t have to fill the vacuum to keep the terror away.

It’s not something I am taking for granted.

 

Purple

I’ve begin to plan out the garden (again) for when the pool is complete.

I’ve been looking at purple-leaved plants for days. This morning, I ran over to Home Depot and grabbed three dwarf peach trees in a variety called “bonfire” which have burgundy foliage, and I’m also looking at a purple-leaf crabapple for another planting spot.

I don’t know why I’m suddenly so enamored of purple. It’s not something I ever wanted before. But now, I’m trying hard to rein in my enthusiasm.

At the same time, I’m also looking at painting my office a deep lavender. And upstairs, in the kid’s playroom where there is already an aubergine rug and cordovan-colored leather couches, I’m looking at amethyst-hue’d drapes.

I look down and notice that I am wearing a purple sweater.

I wish I knew what’s motivating this sudden rush to perse.