The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Breath Work

From Nancy:
I've read Body-Flow, Freedom from Fear-Reactivity by Sonnon and Let Every Breath Let Every Breath by Vasiliev. I've been working with exhaling through my mouth with some extra effort and inhaling through my nose while letting the inhalation be as reflexive as I can manage. (I'm not sure that exhaling through the mouth is generally better than exhaling through the nose, but at present, it's doing a lot to loosen my jaw muscles.)

I've been doing this pretty frequently in the course of the day (not on a schedule), and it makes a huge difference. Doing nothing (usually futzing around online) isn't nearly as attractive as it was. This makes a huge difference to me, and I'm hoping to make more progress with it.

I'm now wondering how much of inertia is not enough air/too much muscular rigidity. This still leaves emotional and brain chemistry explanations in place--there's got to be some reason why some people find it plausible to get into restricting their breath to a debilitating extent, but the breath seems to be a part of the cycle that I can get at.

Steve, it's unlikely that I would have found those books without you, and I'm more than grateful.

I'd be interested in anything more you have to say about "smart people who can't get their act together"--I'm definitely in that category. If there are sub-types, I'm in what I call "laughing depression". It's possible to enjoy some things and pursue hobbies, but taking care of myself is incredibly difficult.

Bless you, Nancy. I am so incredibly happy for you. I think the "reasons" for the breath-work's power are many, and exist on multiple levels simultaneously.
1) Physiological reasons that relate to muscle tension.
2) Physiological reasons relating to CO2/Oxygen balance in the bloodstream
3) psychological reasons relating to paying conscious attention to breathing
4) Spiritual reasons that have to do with gratitude for life.

And on and on. What is important: it works.
I'm not destroying my ego yet...but nibbling away at it. Egos are very useful things! My most basic advice: take responsibility for all three areas in your life. Assume that you have control and you created your circumstance. See what comes up as a result of this position. Then...remember its just a position, and we really don't know.

Enjoy the mystery. Relish knowing that you don't know.
A question. There's a percentage of politicizing beyond which I think people have...well, let's just say I think it's emotional compulsion masquerading as intellectual clarity. It occurs to me that the best way for me to quantify this might be to ask you guys an odd question:

When talking to someone who is of the OPPOSITE political orientation to you, how dogmatic about "Liberals" or "Conservatives" do they have to be before you begin to suspect/detect rigidity and blindness in other areas of their personality? Try to give this a percentage number. We all know people who feel that their corner of the political spectrum is responsible for all that is good in America. Call that 100%. I try hard to maintain the position that what is good in America is a result of tension between Left and Right--I AIM at 50% but probably ain't there. I'm looking for a "Fast and Dirty" measurement here, your instinctive "hit" on how far from center someone OPPOSED TO YOUR VIEWS must be before you begin to suspect them of emotional/psychological blindness.

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