03 Aug 98


I tried my first breathing exercise last night. I was sleepy, with a headache.

Minute 1
Try, but I can't hear my breath because an air conditioner, two fans, and an air purifier are running in the room. It's humid and hot outside.

Minute 2
Turn off the electric devices. Sit down and exhale a sigh, then begin sweating.
Turn off the computer, which is making a noise like a hamster.

Minute 4
Is my spine straight? It'd better be.

Minute 5
Good. There goes the sigh. Feels very thorough. Good start. I begin to calm immediately, then congratulate myself for how well I'm doing, ruining the exercise.

Minute 6
Phone bleats. It's my mother.

Minute 24
Headache is worse. Return to futon. Spine is still straight. Suddenly I realize that this is my body, not someone else's body. I waffle, feel odd, then make sure my feet are flat and let the thoughts wander off.

Minute 25
Breathe the sigh again. Getting better.

Minute 27
Getting to a state of lightness.

Minute 28
Realize that parts of my body are shaking, especially my hands. Not really shaking. Crawling. But not in a negative way. My body seems annoyed with me.

Minute 29
Start thinking about writing a Subway Diary entry about my failed meditation attempt.

Minute 31
Realize the trap I've gone into, replacing the Diary version of the experience with the real. Back to the breath.

Minute 31.5
Suddenly, an insight: you could combine the lucrative porn and weight loss market, and create a video called "Rimming for Slimming."

Minute 32
Utter shame. I recall the imprecation to let thoughts float by like clouds. Images of Richard Simmons fill my closed eyes.

Minute 33
Realize that my timing is incorrect--there's too much in my world to replace with unpracticed breath, right now.

I must be awake in three hours, to write freelance, so I don't sleep on my bed. Rather, I fold out the futon, so that I will wake up in a strange environment, away from my regular nest. This way, I won't simply smack the snoozebar and keep sleeping.

I obviously have a lot of breathing left to do.




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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.


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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


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