Arts and Health, Sisters is devoted to exploring creative problem solving and coping strategies in our world, especially the links between artistic expression and personal and spiritual growth. It is also dedicated to honoring the value and power of women.

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Friday, March 2, 2012

The Joy of Breathing

This week I have been struggling again with asthma. Somehow a flare up always takes me by surprise, even thought I'm very familiar with the symptoms, fatigue, lethargy, being too tired to eat, muscle aches and a spaced out mental state. Fortunately I'm on my way back to baseline. Once I realize where I am, I am better able to accept it and move on, or in my case, give up on pretending I feel fine, collapse for a few days and begin to regroup.

One creative part of the regrouping process is exploring tools available to help propel me out of the rut of illness, fear and paralysis. I found this very helpful post by Jo Ann La Maistre, which echoed the emotional roller-coaster I've been on since my teens when my problems with allergies really surfaced. As she initially points out there is a tendency to ping-pong between a "Pollyanna" (or new age view "Oh, you're going to grow so much from your suffering!"), and the feeling that somehow I am a failure since I can't seem to get or stay well.

I still struggle with this at public events, most notably when I go contra dancing. I find I have to sit out every other set or I end up in a spasm of coughing endlessly, even when I use my rescue inhaler, even when I'm careful to drink plenty of water, even though the event is perfume and smoke free. So I am still experimenting with what to say when I'm sitting out. I'm striving to just say, "I just like to sit out every other set", but somehow  I seem to feel obligated to explain, perhaps because I don't want  suggest I'm rejecting the prospective partner. I also do like to watch, so I'll try this one out too.

The other part I'm working on today is slowing down, staying in the moment and FOCUSING on one thing at a time. When I'm not feeling well that becomes much more difficult as my mind reels with all the plans I have to let go of to have the time and energy to recover.

Here is a picture of the tool I use to help me with this:

View of Small figurine Through the Scope

Super focus Scope

I learned about this tool, made from readily available household items, in the book Focus Your Writing by Bonnie Hearn. I'm still working my way through the book, but so far can recommend it highly. I especially like that she demystifies the writing process and encourages the writer to go ahead, write and enjoy the writing process.

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