One Breath at a Time: Anxiety at its Finest
Today I'm sharing a story from my past… going back a few years back to the day before my birthday. Nothing noteworthy happened that week, but that day was about to change everything. After teaching yoga, I came home to a note from my husband. It wasn't an Apology note… wasn't an I Love You note… nope it was an I'm Gone and Not Sure If I'm Coming Back note.
The note was clear, "If you love me you'll leave me alone." I was shocked and had no idea where this was coming from. On top of that, I wasn't to go looking for answers, which goes against every bone in my being. I'm a communicator and a solution finder. I go after what I want. I persevere. But that day I was to stop dead in my tracks.
Every plan and dream now in question. The what ifs exploding in my mind. My heart raced, yet I felt dead inside. For hours I curled into a ball not believing what I read. Alone… afraid… ashamed… terrified… exhausted… ALONE. It took hours for me to call someone. Hours for me to ask for help. Hours for me to understand I wasn't helpless.
I got a text from him on my birthday… 3 words… "Happy Birthday Lynn." That was it. A few days later, we met. He wanted to work on himself as he didn't feel mentally well. He thought staying with his parents was best. We decided to travel the unknown path ahead as a married couple who no longer lived together. Upholding our vows, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, is when I truly learned what meditation is and the depth of its benefits. [Tweet This]
During the day I had friends and family to lean on; however, the night… oh the night was much different. Quiet darkness invited my mind monsters to play. Even when I caught a few moments of sleep, I'd wake to reposition in bed and my mind would pick up within an instant. Before I knew it I was unable to breathe, the tears soaked my pillow, and my heart ached. He was the primary income provider and I was building my business. Let's just say financial uncertainty added to my insurmountable relationship stress.
The night was too long. The pain and fear were so strong I couldn't take one day at a time. One breath. One breath was all I could do. With all my might I focused on my breath… the one I was attempting to take and boy was it difficult. For days and weeks this was my way to get through the day and night before my mind attacked and my body tightened. One breath at a time. [Tweet This]
As a professional breather and meditation teacher (aka yoga teacher), I knew all sorts of breathing techniques. Yet my mind and body resisted, but I persisted. My intentions supported my breath to help focus my mind and change my negative thought patterns. It took time to believe the words I was telling myself. The path was rocky and I stumbled. Eventually I could take one minute at a time; which slowly (very slowly) turned into one day at a time.
I'm now long past that time in my life, but still find situations ask so much of me that I must take life one breath at a time. Focusing on my breath continues to help me let go of the past and tiring emotions while keeping me from getting lost in the what ifs. The always unknown future. My breath and intention meditation brings me to the present moment. The present is the only place to fully find freedom from emotional, mental and physical suffering. [Tweet This]
I am thankful to have learned how to comfort myself with meditation; however, it wasn't easy or instinctive for me. It took solid moment to moment effort. I know that my practice on the mat is what prepared me to endure and eventually thrive through this time of my life. Breath meditation and intentions are tools to free us from the shackles of suffering. [Tweet This] We have them available to us no matter when we need them or where we are. We practice so that we can more easily use these tools and live life skillfully in the face of challenge, fear, and hardship. We practice… one breath at a time.
May your breath anchor you to the present moment. May you be free from suffering.
Always a Yogi,
Addendum: After a year of separation, I asked for a divorce. In going back in time to share this story, I thought you may find a few of my other thoughts through and after my divorce interesting: