Thursday, January 17, 2008


I wrote this on Wednesday but my computer froze and was unable to post this until today, Thursday.

Tonight is visitation at the funeral home for one of my members who died of Emphysema. She inherited her condition from her family, but complicated it by smoking at one time in her life. She was in ICU for quite a while, and I had been visiting with her and her family since we got back from vacation. They had her hooked up to every machine, line, iv possible. She struggled most of the time and didn't like all that, I wouldn't either. It came to the point that the Doctors began to talk with the family about that all important question of beginning to remove meds., and life support. Her living will stated she would have wanted that so it was done. After every thing was removed she was breathing on her own, her numbers looked better, and she was peaceful. They did keep her on pain medication to keep her comfortable. The family was less anxious, but the Doctors had been honest with them it could be a few hours or a few days. It was a few hours and she took her last breath. Tomorrow we bury her.

It got me to thinking about breath and breathing. I don't have lung problems, its not in my family. I have two other members who have lung problems due to family genes. I will admit I did smoke in my younger days. I wanted to be cool, it seemed to help with the stress of late night studies. And then I was hooked. It was hard to quit and for a long time after I quit, there were times I wanted one. But I have not started back ever and that wanting a cigarette has gone away. Now why can't I do the same with food and compulsive eating, I am not sure, but this post is about breath and breathing, and the other is for another day and time.

It is interesting I do often find myself not breathing, holding my breath, and taking shallow breaths. I do that a lot, especially when I am stressed. I have found I have to be mindful of my breathing. I used to meditate regular with deep breathing as part of that time. I have gotten away from that, but I am wondering if I need to bring it back into my time of prayer and meditation. As I have been de-cluttering, it has made me wonder how the weight of all the clutter on me makes it hard for me to breath. As I have kept my time usage journal, it has made me wonder how much my busyness keeps me from breathing properly. And as I look at how little I exercise these days, I wonder how little good oxygen I am taking in. And I wonder about my weight what effect that has on my breathing. Lots of questions, that again lead to being mindful, being aware of myself and my most natural thing I do, breathing.

I used to have a prayer taped to my computer that was about breathing in the Holy Spirit, breathing in the good and breathing out the bad, etc. In the two moves, I have no idea where it is. I think I'll have to find it and tape it up again or carry it around with me to remind me to breath....


Rev SS said...

remembering to breathe is a good idea.

I resonate with the shallow breaths. For most of my adult life I lived in LA, and found myself taking shallow breaths to minimize the intake of the toxins which gave me headaches.

Love the clean air here that I can take in in deep breaths!

Mary Beth said...

Of course the reason that food issues are not as easy as other addictions (nicotine) is that you can quit smoking altogether (which I have done) but you can't quit eating altogether.


Deep breathing is a very hard thing for me to remember, and so important!!

mid-life rookie said...

Dropping my shoulders and breathing deeply has made a huge difference in my stress level. I have to be careful about letting my body build up stress that affects my attitude and vice versa.

As for breathing and your parishioner, one of my CPE supervisors talked about using the word expire to describe dying. We are given life through inspiration - God's life giving breath. We we expire, we are breathed back to God.

the reverend mommy said...

What MaryBeth said. It would be so much easier to give up food addictions if we could just replace our stomachs with a nice little nuclear reactor that only had to be recharged once every 20 years...

Food is always around -- and you always have to eat.

And I wonder how much of my own weight problem is caused by not moving around enough and getting sufficient exercise rather than not eating well.....