August 4, 2011

"is there really no escape? no escape from time of any kind"..... ..... - Duncan Sheik

A few days ago I was trying to make myself useful by doing simple household chores. It was initially uneventful until I noticed that I was literally trying to catch my breath. I had to pause, look for a place to sit, and breathe. It was unnerving because I’ve never felt anything like it. I've never had to catch my breath in my life. I have never noticed my minute-by-minute respiration except maybe in the past when I used to join in 10-km fun runs. But this was different. It was like I couldn't get enough air, couldn’t expand my lungs enough to satisfy my craving. 
“What’s happening to me?” I asked myself, with a hint of panic in my head. 
So I just sat there and I just tried to breathe.

That may have been a very scary event for me, or anyone, for that matter.
 But figuratively, we’ve all had moments in our lives when we can hardly breathe. Moments when we feel like we’re running in a marathon, with our hearts pacing and our lungs can only do so much. We live each day in supersonic-speed we forget to take time to smell the roses. Consumed by the demands of work, the expectations of loved ones, and the standards we set for ourselves, we often suffocate in disappointments, regrets and frustrations. And we find ourselves crawling, reaching, just gasping for air. Oftentimes, we dive deep and wait ‘til the air tanks in our lives have hit the red mark for LOW despite having been warned lots of times to slowly start the ascent. We try to go the surface, we try to relax, give ourselves a breather. But then, most often than not, it’s all too late. We’ve drowned; drowned in overwhelming stresses, in unrelenting fears, and in underestimated self-worth.

I took my time, and taught myself to breathe in- breathe out, like chanting for someone about to give birth. It annoyingly took quite some time but I cringe at the thought of giving up. So I kept going, and going, until breathing became more natural and panic has left my system. It was exhilarating, the feeling that you’ve survived a potential life-ender. Exaggerated as it may sound, the possibility of death did come into mind. I was alone at home; still battling with a little thing called cancer; any sudden-onset dyspnea while doing minimal work could smell like disaster.

So take time to breathe, in all ways that the word connotes. Merriam-Webster defines “to breathe” as to enjoy relief. Therefore, we should not be in haste. Life isn’t a race; it’s more like a privileged journey. When and how the journey ends we don’t really know, so while you still have the free ride to life, inhale and exhale, every once in a while. ;-)

that's me and my friend Princess studying in a pastry shop in Cebu., all photos taken using her phone camera. 
 Somewhat unrelated to the post but hey, we both took a break and took some time to breathe  :)