Survival Skills 101

May 16, 2017 at 8:05 pm 2 comments

 

Weights

“Don’t forget to breathe.” This is Cristy calling out. She’s the trainer at my local SNAP fitness, where I spend seventy-five minutes of my day, six days a week.

Cristy sits twelve feet away from me as I push out 48 repetitions on the biceps press machine this rainy afternoon. I had noticed feeling light-headed earlier in the week after a session on a different machine. Chalked it up to hormones or lost sleep or the weather.

But Cristy’s prompting catches me up short. I am focusing only on counting down my presses. But doesn’t breathing just come naturally? Apparently not. Once I start consciously inhaling with reps one and two and exhaling on reps three and four, I can feel the difference immediately. Increased oxygen to my brain. Improved stamina. Even a little lift to my mood.

And wow, what a difference it makes. No more light-headedness. No more boredom with the counting regimen. No more feeling like I am just putting in my time.

I got to thinking about this incident on a recent dog walk, as I watched my never-in-a-hurry furry companion sniff her way around the same small patch of clover for the fifth time. This pup loves to stop and concentrate on the moment. Nose seeking out the breeze, she scoops up plenty of fresh air as we meander the neighborhood on our morning, midday, and evening strolls. Don’t have to encourage her to stop and smell the roses, or whatever. And I never see her lying awake at night, fretting, either.

So how often might we all benefit from just taking a deep breath? From pausing to reset our rhythm to a more natural pace and reprogram our minds toward a more prayerful approach to life.

Care to join me in the count-down?

-When your worry list expands past a fingers-plus-toes count of friends and family who face dire health challenges or tormenting personal relationship issues . . . don’t forget to breathe.

-When your own ties to dear ones are suddenly severed by forces and circumstances beyond your understanding . . . don’t forget to breathe.

-When visiting the past starts to seem preferable to living in the present . . .  don’t forget to breathe.

-When false accusations get hurled, your words twisted and used against you, your character subjected to brutal assaults . . .  don’t forget to breathe.

-When the world appears to be turned hopelessly inside out, with common sense declared “controversial” and so many falsehoods declared to be truths . . . don’t forget to breathe.

The buzzword these days is intentional: Intentional eating, intentional parenting, intentional relating, intentional needlepoint. Well, maybe not that last one, but you get the idea. The concept translates to consciously tailoring our choices and our actions to ensure that they reflect our values, our goals, and our unambiguous understanding of right and wrong behavior.

So these breathing lessons? Let’s call them intentional refocusing. And let’s remind each other.

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

An Ode to J.R. Revisited Survival Skills 101

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Keith  |  May 17, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    excellent

    Reply
    • 2. kirkhams  |  May 17, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      Thank you, Keith.

      Reply

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Recipe. According to Encarta, "a list of ingredients and instructions for making something." The thesaurus offers the alternate terms, "formula, guidelines, directions, steps, technique."

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