Up until a few weeks ago, if you asked me to breathe in I would try to pin my bellybutton to my spine and hold it there until I was almost blue. I didn’t know I was doing it wrong. I didn’t know that we breathe in by letting our tummies fill up with air, that becoming the glorious baby Buddha version of ourselves was the way to give our bodies the gift of oxygen. And it struck me that if I could get something as fundamental as breathing wrong, then I could indeed be doing the rest of my life the wrong way too.
I haven’t been well recently. I didn’t talk about it here because I didn’t want to bore you with my moans and groans but the truth is that each day during December I would wave the family off to work and school and then crawl back into bed where I would fall straight into the sleep that had evaded me the night before. Everything hurt. My eyes were gritty and my limbs sore to touch. I wasn’t breathing properly: switching between sudden gasps and long sighs that had Ste constantly asking me what was wrong, trying to fathom my apparent exasperation, and as bewildered by my lethargy and sorrow as I was myself.
When I switched my laptop on the words moved about on the screen and nothing made sense. Social interaction became impossible, and sadness grasped me by the lungs and mithered me with the nagging feeling that there was something wrong. I couldn’t write. Couldn’t read. Could barely talk to anyone beyond my closest inner circle. And when I found myself sitting in front of my endocrinologist I burst into a flood of tears that threatened never to stop and she ordered a barrage of tests to find out what was wrong and I worried in a dramatic fashion and failed to share my worry with anyone at all, and within a few days I was diagnosed with Pernicious Anemia and a rather extreme D3 Deficiency, alongside my ever-worsening Hashimotos, and lo and behold I wasn’t going bonkers or even on my last legs, I was actually sick with a range of very treatable ailments I hadn’t remotely suspected.
So I retreated to mend. To take all the tablets and rest and learn to breathe and to look after myself even during the madness of our very quiet Christmas. I slept a lot. Watched three series of The Tunnel and all of Big Little Lies. Read quietly. Played SimCity (none stop to my family’s horror #carenotajot). Went to bed early and got up late. Cooked very little. Ate very little. Lost a stone in weight. And tried to experience some kind of calm in the midst of repair.
And now a New Year is upon us. As usual I want to kiss January. The relief of the festivities being over written large on my heart and the the tree already down, so that I can scrub the house from top to bottom. I have been practicing breathing. Minutes at a time just sat quietly filling my tummy with air and watching it rise and fall. Committed to a new practice designed to help me focus on my own well-being. Not setting it aside in favor of muddling through but actually committing to being well, so that everything else can follow, un-compromised by my inability to function.
So there you have it: my word for the year: – commitment. To myself. For my family. For my work here at Brocantehome. And for you.