Saturday, 27 January 2018

Learning to Breathe, by Lucy Mills

You'd think that breathing is automatic - and generally speaking, it is! But I've known those who have had to 're-learn' to breathe, for health reasons; and we are often advised to breathe 'properly' - i.e. down below your diaphragm so that it is your stomach that rises and falls as you breathe deeply, not shallow breathing so that your rib cage is the bit that moves.

I suspect you are thinking: analogy alert! And yes, you'd be right, although by all means go away and practise slowing and deepening your breathing - that may well benefit you.

At the moment I am embracing my word for the year, which is 'space' (see my post on that here). I wasn't aware, when I chose it, how I would interact with the idea as much as I have - so far, at least.

After a year of book writing and publishing, I was wiped out, then a virus caught hold of me over Christmas (hence no post from me last month!). As, like some readers of this blog, I have CFS/ME to deal with, this means my batteries are very low at the moment.

I've decided that's OK. My mind has been going at full pelt, and although in some ways life remains busy there is enough flexibility for me to spread things out a bit and re-learn to breathe, as it were.

I don't anticipate getting it right straight away.

When you're dealing with momentum, a certain amount of staggering before stopping is inevitable! Likewise, I may still breathe too fast and too shallow for a while.

But I am at least aware that I need cushion myself with space - to re-find a pausing, a peace that will recharge me as a person, as a Christian, as a writer.

Are you in need of a recharge? Some of us need it more than others, I suspect. Just like extroverts thrive on people-time and introverts derive energy from alone-time there will be those of us who find their strength in space, and those who are propelled by activity. Knowing and understanding how we tick will help us find the right prescription.

For me I need to wriggle and writhe for a while, like someone getting caffeine out of their system - I need to stop, but it's quite normal to feel jittery and fidgety about it. Withdrawing from the treadmill can result in...well...withdrawal.

And there are things in my life where I can't just press stop - as I'm sure is the case for you.  So then it becomes about looking at my life and my rhythm and see what tweaks I can make - not imposing a template from someone else. That never works, as far as I am concerned. I need to find my own method, and that changes over time. What worked for me five years ago doesn't now. I'm always changing.

So where am I going with this?  Forgive me if I ramble. It's a snapshot into my mind, I suppose, a slightly frazzled mind, which has overdosed on words and thinking and pushing towards deadlines. Let me feel fried for a bit. That's OK. I have permission.

And when I'm ready, when my mind has slowed, when I have learned how to breathe again - then maybe God will whisper - hey, look at this new thing I'm doing...


Lucy Mills
Lucy's first book, Forgetful Heart: remembering God in a distracted world, was published in 2014. Undivided Heart: finding meaning and motivation in Christ came out in October 2017.

Lucy writes articles, poetry and prayers for various publications and is Editorial Co-ordinator at magnet magazine.

Lucy on Twitter: @lucymills
Lucy's Facebook page
Lucy on Instagram: @lucymillswriter

More than Writer posts in 2017:

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