September 7, 2020

Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.

Seemed simple enough when I was born — except that I was born a chain smoker!  How dreadful was that!  I hated cigarette smoke from the womb thanks to two parents who always had that smelly, smoking white torture stick in their fingers.  My aunt even told me that my mother smoked while she was breastfeeding me.  No wonder I was a cranky baby.

That cranky baby grew up into a child who ran and hid from smoke everywhere she could.  A car was a special kind of torture chamber from which there was no escape.

FINALLY, I grew up and left home.   I could run away from smoke easier after that.  And, when I had my own home, no one was allowed to smoke inside.  And I certainly never put a cigarette in my mouth.

I heard breathe in, breathe out again when I wanted to learn how to meditate.  It was the magical way to slow down a too-active mind and enter the peaceful world of meditation.  Breathe in, breathe out was calming and sweet to do.

Enter Covid 19 and breathe in, breathe out got more complicated.   Wearing gloves, a small mask from nose to chin, covered by a forehead to chin plastic piece and eyeglasses that fogged up became an uncomfortable challenge.  It didn’t allow me to breathe in and breathe out to any degree of comfort.

I began to worry about those tv news reports of how far little droplets from my mouth could go, or vice versa.  Breathe in, breathe out became an uncomfortable hassle best avoided by waiting until midnight to take a walk where I was unlikely to meet another breathing human.

And then there were the raging wildfires in California that sent all sorts of unimaginable things into the same air I needed to breathe.  My allergies worsened.  My eyes hurt and itched.

So now breathing comes with worrying.   What am I breathing in?  What am I breathing out?   What is that other person I don’t know breathing out?

Breathe in.  Breathe out.

Yes, I still meditate, but without as much peace of mind as I used to.

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