Breathe: Out, then In

I like to ask my students if anyone knows how to breathe.  Most look perplexed and I prod thbreatheem to raise their hands if they do.  One or two will, and I call on one of them.  They always say, “Take a breath in, then out.”  I get to say, “Wrong!  You got it exactly backwards.  Here’s how to breathe.”  I then stand there and expel a distinct breath and hold the Zero Point when all the carbon dioxide is gone.  Only then do you breathe in.  “So a full breath consists of out, then in.”  When you are tense, breathe out.

No one teaches us this!  We get tense and typically what do we do?  We take a huge (“Yuge”) breath in and hold it.  Wrong!  You can see in your own body what that does:  it makes you lift your shoulders and hold them there, barrel out your chest and hold it there, open up your eyes and bulge them there.  It’s all wrong.  Let it go, let it slump, enjoy the poison out.  Exhale!  Exhale!  That may be something Bill Clinton got right when he said, “I didn’t inhale.”  In fact, the disease called emphysema is caused from too many extreme inhales.  An emphysema patient is one who actually self-trained to be unable to exhale.  Exhale!  Really learn the difference.

For me, reading and writing are inhales and exhales.  I go through phases when all I want to do is read, read, read.  Even yesterday, I see here on this blog I decided to assign myself to read a memorable book for the holidays.  Lie down!  Read!  I remember lying down for 5 minutes and contemplating assorted titles on my Kindle.  Then a thought popped up about a custom poem and up I jumped to go back to the laptop to exhale.  To write.

I find myself to be either in a reading mode (for days or weeks) and then a writing mode (for days or months):  either inhaling or exhaling.  Right now I am into exhale.  There are so many loose ends and open roads on this website.  How could I settle down for a tome on 20th century history or quantum physics or Charles Dickens?  I want to organize all this carbon dioxide.

 

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