No lie, breathing is the hardest thing I do. You can probably guess that breath is a huge part of my thought process, given how much I mention it in this blog (and in real life, if you know me)... that comes really from about 24 years of being asthmatic. Pull up your chairs and I'll tell you a little story about that.
When I was 21 I went and did something that I had absolutely no business doing - I got married. I thought it was TWU WUV. No one else liked him, for good reason. He was way older than I was, overbearing, condescending, and convinced that he was smarter than anyone around him. He treated me like a child (and I acted like one, I take a lot of blame for that mess) and the marriage naturally imploded after five years. We went into counseling - I'll give him credit for that - although it killed his soul that the counselor suggested that I might not be to blame for every single thing. At one point he was ranting about something I didn't do, or couldn't do, and I remember he said "She should be able to do that! Everyone can do that! It's as natural as breathing!" At that point our counselor started to laugh. My ex was stunned. The counselor looked at him and said "Think about what you just said... as natural as breathing... she is asthmatic. Breathing is the -least- natural thing for her."
He completely discounted my asthma, repeatedly saying that it wasn't any big deal and refusing to believe my friends' who said that it was a dangerous condition and I could die from it. He taught me to discount it in a lot of ways, too, and I spent the next decade or so neglecting it, letting it rage out of control. Now that I finally have it under control, I spend a lot of time thinking about breath and breathing, its importance and signficance, as well as its connection to the rest of my life.
I also notice the problems I have with breathing that have nothing directly to do with asthma... in particular the fact that I hold my breath for long periods of time. I'm not sure why I do it, I just know that it can be a very serious issue when doing bodywork. Breathing during exercise is vital, to keep the energy flowing. As it is I move, realize I need to breathe, breathe, start moving again - it's a herky jerky thing with no rhythm. I want to learn to breathe naturally, in and out, and let it be a part of my movement, not an extra component.
So, when I tell people to breathe, I'm telling myself. I'm reminding -me- that I need to treat breath as what it is: the foundation of the body-mind. If you see me, ask me if I'm breathing. I'll probably thank you for reminding me.