I’m not really the kind of person who likes to sit still.
I mean, sure, I can handle it in some situations: long flights or train rides, meditation, the occasional movie or Parks and Recreation binge. When it comes down to it, though, I like to move. Bowling, miniature golf, or roller skating are ideas to win my heart on a date. If I talk about new hobbies – and I’ve got some coming up that you’ll read about here in the coming weeks – they’re all things that get my heart rate up. And of course, we can analyze my desire to travel around the globe in this context, too. Why would I want to stay in the same place when there are so many other locales to explore?
In other words, the phrase “slowing down” isn’t usually in my vocabulary. Or at least, it wasn’t until this past weekend.
Then, I had no choice.
If you’re not familiar with vertigo, it’s the sense that everything around you is spinning even when you’re still. When I woke up on Saturday morning, I tried to walk to the bathroom and nearly careened into the chest of drawers because I couldn’t stand up straight. Sitting down? Didn’t help. Crawling? Just made me feel silly. Drinking water and Gatorade? Didn’t do a damn thing.
All I could do was lie in bed and hope the room would stop rocking. (Well, that and eat gluten-free toast with butter. But who’s counting, really?)
When you’re forced to cancel all your plans for the weekend, it can be hard to sit with that, even if you know it’s the best thing for you. Of course you can’t attend an arm balancing and inversions workshop when you can barely stay upright. No, in fact, it’s probably not the best idea to go to that dinner you planned on attending, even if you’d already paid for it. And yes, it is a real bitch when you lose $260 because you couldn’t work for two days.
The thing is, there was nothing else left to do but slow down, and I needed to allow that. I needed to let myself be okay with sleeping for 14+ hours in a go. I needed not to push myself to sit up before I was ready, because that would only make the symptoms worse. And most importantly, I needed to breathe.
I chose to let those inhales and exhales be full and deep. I chose to allow my breath to be slow and even, to let it sink me back into sleep throughout the days. I chose to let my breath help steady my heart rate, to exhale out my anxiety about money and the things I was missing. I chose to put my health first.
Sometimes, the most important action you can take is to do nothing.
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When can you commit to taking a day to slow down and breathe?
**On August 5, 2012 – my 31st birthday – I committed to taking action every day for the next year of my life. Taking action and facing fear often go hand-in-hand, so I’ve got some two-for-one business happening over here. In this new Monday blog series, I’ll be exploring some of the things that I’m doing to honor this commitment – especially the big fear-conquering ones.