I stood there dumbfounded as an energy doctor held her side table lamp up to my eyeball.
"You need to sweat," she affirmed just from staring into my left eye. Then she went on...
"You need to breathe. Do you breathe? Claire, you are not breathing!"
This statement really caught me off guard. I knew I needed to workout so it didn't surprised me that someone considering my health very closely would advise that I get my workout on, but breathing? How as I NOT breathing?
After a few seconds which seemed like minutes as I tried to think of an appropriate response to this second question, she spoke first...
"Has something bad happened to you? Did someone die?" This time she stunned me. I just assumed everyone from church knew that my Dad had died and during that time of my life I still had not allowed myself permission to let go and grieve. I told her about Daddy and she nodded like she had already read my mind and knew what I was going to share with her.
"You store grief in the lungs. You have to breathe."
This began an almost year long journey of counseling, self discovery, and relearning how to take deep breaths.
Now, when I feel my body tighten instead of letting me fully inhale that deep breath of air, I consider whether something is bothering me. It's amazing how often something really is on my mind that I haven't addressed. Can you take a deep breath? Are you coming up for air?
Awareness of the inhale hesitation made a big difference for me. Yoga also helps. Do you breathe?