I’ve been meditating on and off for probably 20 years now. I visited a Zen Buddhist temple in the Upper East Side and sat there a few times. I took my older daughter to a Shin Buddhist temple for one of the most joyful meditation experiences I have ever had. I contemplated officially converting to Buddhism and had an online convo with a white dude married to a Puerto Rican woman (see my last post for more variations on this theme – ps I also dated that man’s son for a bit) about converting via an online Buddhist community.
I stopped or rather never went full speed ahead because I got stuck at if converting – practicing was a cultural appropriation and that never sat (pardon the pun) well with me.
Lately – as a way to control my response to the overwhelming stress around me, as a way to work through a number of traumas I have been returning to meditation, to breathing.
I am still bothered by the super trendiness of mindfulness and its commodification but there is something about remembering to breath and breath well that is important.
I am recognizing that in moments of deep stress or even deep concentration, I hold my breath and um well we need to breath to live. If we aren’t breathing well we aren’t living well.
I remember the first time I learned how to breath well. I was in my high school Glee Club practice (yes I was that bitch and what?) and the Director – a tall thin Greek woman taught us how to fill our bellies with air and push it out to help hold our voice. It was such an aha! moment because up until then I connect breathing in with sucking in my stomach – I had been doing it backwards.
So now when I meditate or even just stop and take a few deep breaths before a meeting I remember that revelation. I remember that the breath will not just hold our much needed voices but our much needed work.