Me in Conversation. Photo by Emma Morris
Somewhere around the year 2000 ...
I just felt so unhealthy, puffy and mentally drained from my first year of graduate school. So I did what no other young person might. I joined the YMCA and took step aerobics (specifically, the senior citizen class) on repeat. That summer, I attended class every single day and I didn’t think too much about art (let alone making it) during this time. A strict aerobics schedule followed by routine steam room sessions with my elders left little room for anything else. I was committed and my body & mind never felt better.
Suddenly, I understand a little better about why. I was breathing. Deeply, regularly & often. A insight that began with Stephanie’s advice in the comments section:
“First, this is going to sound like the kind of advice I would have absolutely hated a few years back. Here goes anyway! MOVEMENT. Physical movement. Not exercise per se, but for some reason moving my body more/ with more deliberation has unlocked various mental and emotional blocks in ways that are still shocking me. My favorite movement is guided by Kara Duval, but I’m sure there are lots of other great people out there. I spent so much time trying to work out problems in my head that I completely forgot that I had a body that needed to process. Anyhow, I hope something shifts for you and that someone gives you the nudge need!”
Naturally, Stephanie’s advice took me straight to Instagram. I tracked down Kara Duval, hit follow & went deep:
Then, I saw it. A caption along the lines of: if I feel pain, I breathe into it. In that same moment, I did just that. I breathed deeply and it was exactly what I needed. Suddenly, it was as if a door hidden deep in my chest unlocked. A place in waiting and in need of attention was suddenly flooded with oxygen. When I exhaled, I cried. So simple, but profound. This is what attending to what’s there looks like. And sometimes that’s as simple as breathing.
Bringing attention to the breath is synonymous with presence, but being present is something I sometimes forget to do. I intend to make a practice of being exactly where I a regular one, one breath at a time. Thank you, Stephanie!
And while I may be doing a lot of thinking & searching for a new flow & rhythm to my work, my desire to keep Mind Vacation alive is crystal clear & unwavering. I am so into this newsletter because it connects me to you.