The most important place to start as I share how I came back from being 320lbs and in bed for a year, over medicated into near overdose and sedentary until my oxygen starved blood turned to sludge...is the breath. Period.

My sensation is on overdrive with this cold weather. Where I live has been cold and snowy/rainy for days--the double whammy kiss of life for any kind of muscular/skeletal chronic injury champ. ("Chronic pain" survivors/thrivers are champs not "sufferers" and so I refuse to demean your discomfort and its value to your life by calling you all sufferers). Because my sensation today felt more like a sack of screaming babies stapled to my neck and back muscles than a magic satchel full of rainbows and strawberry shortcake, I was reminded more often than has been the case in many months of the infinite value of taking the time to breathe. Slowly and often.

Returning to breath was salvation today. Breath is prayer. Breath is relief. Breath is spirit. Breath literally in Greek is the same word as Spirit...Pneuma.

Learning to connect to my spirit using my breath has been the greatest gift of the past three years. The way to do this is usually described as having an intention. I spent years not understanding what this really means. I'll describe it simply as this--if I use my imagination to assign meaning to my breath and visualize it with my mind, my body will respond to it as though it was real.

Sounds hokey I know. But please stay with me. I'm not a New Ager, hippie, or snake oil proponent--nothing against any of those folks but they've done a piss poor job of translating the real essence of their core value proposition to normal people who don't speak the lingo. They've also muddied the water around some really powerful truths by rarely touching down with the rest of us long enough to make sense. But daggummit those people were RIGHT!

A. You think a thing.
B. You breathe while you think that thing.
C. You imagine and picture in your mind the thing you're thinking and visualize your breath and that thing combining and becoming real in your mind...and
D. Poof...You're changing your body chemistry and your mind.

That's just contemporary science. I found it on the Google. And it worked. No hocus pocus whatsoever.

Apply this to what folks call pain...et bien voila! You have the basic building blocks for a breath based, mentally vibrant and creatively charged means of managing discomfort. I'm hoping that I can begin over time to unpack what I've done for you so you can do it too.

For now please just try this. For five minutes a day for 3 days. If you hate it or don't find it to be remotely useful then do whatever you want happily ever after.

IF YOU LIVE IN CHRONIC DISCOMFORT AND YOUR SENSATION IS THROWING A BLOCK PARTY FOR THE WHOLE CITY ON YOUR FRONT STOOP...THIS WILL HELP MANAGE THE NOISE, IF YOU KEEP AT IT.

Before we can start with any real in-depth breathing exercises you need to get used to just breathing consciously. So here's the gig...ready?

  1. Lie back someplace quiet. If you can, turn out the lights or draw the shades. Close your eyes.
  2. Begin to breathe in through your nose and exhale gently through what I call "whistle lips". In the beginning it is ok to let your cheeks puff out. We will eventually adjust this but for now we are just slowing the exhale down. DO THIS 10-15 TIMES.
  3. Say out loud three times "My breath is medicine." Notice how that feels. IF YOU LIKE HOW IT FEELS YOU CAN REPEAT IT UP TO NINE TIMES IN 3 SETS OF 3 REPETITIONS.
  4. Begin to send your breath to any place of discomfort continuing to think to yourself "my breath is medicine". DO THIS 10-15 TIMES. Stop to notice how you feel. IF YOU LIKE HOW YOU FEEL YOU CAN DO THIS FOR AS LONG AS YOU WANT. ATMOSPHERIC OXYGEN IS STILL FREE OF CHARGE.

Start to play after a few days with other things that your breath can be. As you watch your breath become that thing in your mind you will be focusing your intention to use your breath to harness your brain and body together. This is also called Yoking after the concept of putting a stronger oxen with a younger weaker one. YOUR MIND IS THE STRONGER OX. Your body almost always follows.

This works for ANYthing you focus on for long enough--work, writers block, requests from the divine for more patience, even a failed fusion and intense sensation in the body. I'm living proof. You don't have to focus only on unpleasantness and removing it with your breath. Your breath will amplify your positive thoughts and sensations even more.

So GO ON. BREATHE THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE TODAY. ONE BREATH AT A TIME. Let me know how it works out for you, please?

We will build on this core concept later but for now--have at it. If you are as banged up and bed ridden as I've been, remember that you have all the time in the world to practice this and then rest and come back to it. If your life is busy and your sensation keeps slowing you down--try listening and slowing the fuck down and giving this a shot? What the shit have you got to lose anyway? Seriously. You'll be more productive after this breath stuff. Try it for a week just to prove me wrong. Whatever it takes to just stop and begin to breathe deliberately.

And as always--when the going gets rough and you're feeling seriously lonely--hit me up here on the blog or the old fashioned email way and remember...I'm doing all of this right beside you all the way!

Thank you for reading.