Monday, January 10, 2011

Breathing

I am not a calm person.  I do not sit still.  I fidget.  My toes are always moving - wiggling back and forth.  I am always multi-tasking.  If the house is quiet I turn on the TV.  I don't breathe deeply.  I don't really rest.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think I'm high-strung or overly anxious.  I just don't slow down.  I'm always on the move.  Always thinking about the next thing.  My brain is always pumping out ideas.  And I'm used to it.  It's just how I am - a little stressed, under pressure, busy. 

I think that needs to change.

I had a horrible week last week.  I have this client who is just a nasty little man.  He's disorganized, a terrible communicator, arrogant, and he has a mean streak a mile wide.  And last week he was "on a roll".  Five days in a row of being on edge - braced for the next round of his irrational rantings (combined with fighting off nausea) left me a total wreck.  When I went to the doctor on Tuesday they had to take my blood pressure three times over a 30 minute span before I was able to relax enough for it to be at a normal level.  Friday afternoon I had a complete breakdown in front of the big boss - tears included.  It was not a pretty thing!

It makes me angry that I allow the client to get to me like that.  I know I'm good at my job.  I know I do the best I can do every time I walk in the door.  I know that he is absolutely impossible to please, and that no matter what I do it won't measure up.  So why can't I accept that and just roll with the punches? 

I spent the weekend dreading Monday morning, knowing that another meeting with the big boss was inevitable.  He's on my side, but it's still his job to make the client happy.  I had planned to go to bed early Sunday night, wake up early Monday morning, and get to work ready to face whatever came my way.  I had a plan!

Wouldn't you know that an ice storm hit DFW on Sunday, and the highway I take to work was shut down until after 8:00.  As soon as I got word from the news that the roads were open I headed out the door.  Two hours and thirty minutes later I pulled into the parking garage.  I had missed the meeting with the big boss; I was so frustrated that my nausea had flared up, and my bladder felt like it was about to burst. 

My plan had failed miserably. 

Don't they always?  We call it Murphy's Law.  We call it Karma.  We say "it is what it is".  But ultimately our best laid plans almost always fail.  It's not a surprise when you think about how flawed we are, and yet, I continue to get frustrated when my plans are thwarted.  Over the years I've gotten better at managing my external reactions to stress, but I have to admit that basically all I've done is internalized what used to come out as anger.  Now it manifests itself as muscle tension and shallow breathing. 

It's time to take the reminder that God is trying to give me.  It's not a coincidence that I was emailed three separate blog entries this morning about slowing down, relaxing, and letting God be God.  Okay, I get it.  I need to learn how to be still, breathe deeply, and let myself relax.  My body is working overtime right now.  I'm working full-time, I'm taking classes during the evenings/weekends, and  I'm growing a person.  And God is reminding me...

"Slow down, Mama.  You're going to have to learn how to go with the flow.  A new baby is on the way, a new career is in the works, and you have no idea what else is on the horizon." 
(At this point I imagine a deep, all-knowing little chuckle). 

I want to be a calm presence in my home.  I want to learn to breathe deeply through life.  Through exciting beginnings, sad endings, and the craziness in between.  I don't know specifically how to do this, but I do know the author of those beginnings and endings.  His name is...

Elohim - Creator, Preserver, Transcendent, Mighty and Strong

El Shaddai - "God All Sufficient"

Adonai - Master, Lord

Jehovah-Jireh - "The Lord will Provide"

Jehovah-Rophe - "The Lord who Heals"

Jehovah-Nissi - "The Lord Our Banner"

Jehovah-M'Kaddesh - "The Lord who Sanctifies"

Jehovah-Shalom - "The Lord Our Peace"

Yahweh
“The letters of the name of God in Hebrew… are infrequently pronounced Yahweh. But in truth they are inutterable….This word {YHWY} is the sound of breathing.  The holiest name in the world, the Name of Creator, is the sound of your own breathing. That these letters are unpronounceable is no accident. Just as it is no accident that they are also the root letters of the Hebrew verb ‘to be’… God’s name is the name of Being itself.” 
~Rabbi Lawrence Kushner
When we calmly breathe through life, we find that God is there in all His forms.  Too many times I rush through life and forget to find the small things God does each day.  When I remember to stop and listen for His whisper I inevitably learn more about the true character of my Creator and Sustainer. 

It is for this reason that I am determined learn to breathe, to relax, and to listen.  Not just for my health and sanity.  Not just for the well-being of my unborn child.  The main reason for my determination to slow down is for the intangible peace that comes from knowing my place as a follower and child of Yahweh.  This is what God expects of me.  He does not expect perfection, but He does expect adoration.  He expects me to slow down, to listen, and to rest peacefully in Him.  He expects me to seek Him, and when I do He will make Himself known.
Now, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
      and this is what he requires of you:
   to do what is right, to love mercy,
      and to walk humbly with your God.  ~Micah 6:8

Rabbi Lawrence Kushner quote taken from www.aholyexperience.com

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