Snippets, Installment 1

Note: I’m going to give shorter, “soundbite” blogs a try for a bit, and try to post every few days rather than every few weeks. Longer than tweets and statuses, but shorter than essays. Why? Partially, because I have few illusions about our collective attention spans. And partially because sometimes I’ve just got a bit to say, and not everything has to be fleshed out. So here’s the first:

In meditation, and in yoga, you’re supposed to concentrate on the breath; the breath will ground you. I’m still not very good at “quieting the mind,” and my feelings of anxiety just don’t allow me let go of the things I’d like to be able to, even temporarily, because they feel like emergencies.

Isn’t it just so unfair that when you feel bad, life punishes you by making you feel worse?

Things go badly – things that might even affect your ability to survive – and you get stressed. You’re stressed, so your body tenses. Your body tenses, and you get headaches, and fatigue, a higher susceptibility to illness, and a primal drive to overeat until your pants don’t fit your anymore. You gain much more weight than you should, and then you’re more fatigued and unhealthy, and then stressed about it, which leads to more bad feelings. “Oh, you’re not doing so well?” says life. “Why don’t we just keep that going.”

It’s totally unfair, and I’m mad about it. This game sucks.


14 thoughts on “Snippets, Installment 1

  1. It’s liberating to have some options regarding the length of pieces you write. For reading, it’s the same. So three cheers for the snippet format.

    I totally understand, and sympathize with, your having a run of bad things happening to you. Your tale of woe reminded me of the saying, “Bad things come in threes.” I just Googled that phrase and among other things I found, “Although the superstition of deaths coming in threes is often traced from the Appalachian region of the United States to the beliefs of Scots-Irish ancestors in Europe, a variation of this belief is also found in Mexico.” I’ve never heard it in México, but living in West Virginia until my early 20s, it subtly soaked into my thinking. Have you heard it here. If so, how’s it said in colloquial Mexican Spanish?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If there is such a phrase, I don’t know what it is… But it certainly doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist! 😀

      I mostly notice super weird things coming in threes…like, mentions of Patrick Swayze or something, haha

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Sarah, I love your writing but felt today’s subject rather depressing and sad. I wasn’t going to write, as I don’t have your talent for it, but I saw this in The NYTimes and wondered if a handstand or a headstand would be helpful. Best Annie Turn upside-down.

    While not a daily habit, I have, when dealing with a challenging issue, closed my office door and done a handstand. Going upside down reminds me there are other perspectives I may not be aware of. If nothing else, it makes me smile, which always helps the situation. I’ll also walk outside barefoot in the morning when I need to get grounded before a busy day. (It’s particularly energizing in the winter.)

    — Jennifer Ashlock, Sylva, N.C.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It seems to me that you always need to inform others you to have to have less stress. I tell people I need to slow down and just look and listen. If they need to go ahead, that’s fine. I’m in the Azores for a while where they have a fine coffee culture. A good coffee and a newspaper in the corner of a bar is a great relief.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I can totally relate to that, my anxiety takes over and that one problem (at that moment) gets played over and over in my head and grows and grows.. 😩

    Liked by 2 people

  5. On the other hand, grief works the other way. When I experience serious grief I lose serious weight. I lost 40 lbs when my wife died. It stayed off for years but has come back. I also used to lose weight during a 3 or 6 month archaeological field project in Mexico. That also always came back.
    I enjoyed your piece on Coatepec coffee, one of my favorite towns years ago.

    Sent from my iPad


  6. Yes it does suck. It’s like evolution somehow devised this as a test and then one ends up feeling inferior on top of the anxiety, depression, and overeating and poor dental hygiene. It’s not fair!


  7. Thanks for the forum and sharing on this cycle that so many of us experience. Here’s to the moments we find periods of relief and less difficult feelings. I like the community your thoughts create.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. First of all, I’ve had a helluva getting to this place to respond. I either get an annoying cover page, blocking 90% of the page or laborynthian wordpress application requirements, which I’m not interested in. Why so difficult??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Martin, sorry, I just now saw this! I’m sorry you had trouble…I didn’t even think I HAD ads on my blog — I’m certainly not getting paid for them, ha! Glad you finally made it.


  9. Now, what I wanted to say regarding breath control and meditation. I’ve been practicing for 50 years and am still discovering ways to improve the technique. Sitting cross-legged is not essential, but having proper posture/back support is. Breath control is simple, but not easy. Are you familiar with diaphramatic breathing? Most people, when they take a deep breath fill their upper lungs. Diaphragm breathing is different. While (nasal) inhaling, imagine that you are filling your belly with air, slowly exhale (again nasally). To clear your mind of thought clutter count your exhaled breaths up to 5. If you get lost/”space out”, just start over. To stay focused, blink after 5 breaths to “reset/refresh”. Keep your eyes lowered on a point about 10′ in front of you. Rest the tip of your tongue against the back of your upper teeth. Within about 15 mins the chatter will cease and you will experience serenity. Do this with your eyes closed and you will go to sleep. You can do this standing in line at the bank or in the quiet of your own home. You will make progress with your meditation if you follow this simple outline. There are other embelishments, but this is the essence.
    Martin T

    Liked by 1 person

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