Posts Tagged ‘grief’

Breathe in and breathe out. It’s something we do everyday without thinking about it. Our bodies are naturally inclined to do this without questioning the process or it’s validity. We’ve been practicing it for years and it has proven to work quite well. Rarely do we think about it unless we are overcome with sinus congestion, head cold symptoms and the like or if we are predisposed to asthma, lung disease, or any such condition that impairs our ability to execute this simple task.

In divorce, (and the in the death of a loved one)  we almost have to learn how to breathe all over again. Differently, as if with a new set of lungs that don’t quite fit at first. I remember a time when my friend Christine shared with me that while grieving the death of her sister her  grief was so acute she couldn’t breathe. Her body maintained its natural rhythm of  in …and out…and in…and out…but the sensation was suffocating. The emotions so raw and real as to squeeze the very breath out of her.  Fortunately our bodies have a way of taking care of us at those emotional times when we feel like we can no longer function normally. And so…we breathe.

Which brings me to my recent experience and the lessons I learned while swimming with the fishes. I decided to take up scuba diving because…well…because…ah heck, the truth is I am deathly afraid of the whole idea of being strapped to a 50 pound tank of air and submerged to depths below the sea. It’s just not how I breathe. Somewhere back in the early stages of my divorce when I was so afraid of everything, I made a silent vow to myself to never be afraid of anything. Subsequently I have faced my fears head on and challenged myself to overcome them and scuba was right there on the list. Sheesh.  

At one point during my dive yesterday I was instructed to wait at the bottom of the ocean (35ft) holding the dive line, until the instructor came back down to help me execute my next drill. My natural reaction was to panic. What the hell? I am alone down here, standing on the ocean floor, watching the fish swim around me and waiting for him to return. Of course he could see me the whole time and he new that I would stay calm.  My gut reaction was to panic, but the fear of upsetting the natural rhythm of my breathing reminded me to simply…relax…and breathe.  I knew I couldn’t panic…but more importantly…I knew there was no reason. I was fine, breathing in and out of my regulator. I had come to trust the process at that point and knew it would not fail me. I settled in and got comfortable in my new environment, and began to enjoy the new world around me. And so…I continued to breathe.




I have been faced with more than a few challenges since my divorce. I have seen tragic and unexpected death happening around me. I have felt lost, and alone on many occasions. I feel heartache for the trials and tribulations that my friends are facing. But I have also experienced moments of incredible joy, and peace and an understanding of how we are all connected. And when the world seems overwhelming to me , whether on land, or under the sea, I know I can breathe…and breathe…and breathe.

And so I breathe.


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