Where it Starts


Float. No thought. Only breath. In, and out. The slip of water to the depths of my ear, damning me once again to a day of auditory gurgles and sloshes, was almost sexual.

I don’t know how long I let myself lay in the shallow end. Don’t know how long I contemplated the ceiling. Don’t care. It felt right. When I slipped my goggles on and began to swim, my thoughts remained where I put them: on my breath; on kicking left, right, and left again; on the smooth movement of my arms to bring me up for the next lungful of air. The bubbles I emitted were mesmerizing; an explosion of visible exhale that I experimented with holding on to, slow release of, and fast outrush, imaging my fat cells filtering through the chlorine.

It was a good swim.

My work week has already been modified. Four hours into a hard push yesterday and I was exhausted and in need of a break. Six would kill me. I’m not in this for immediate results, so my daily goal has been reset to a manageable four hours of work. Maybe I’ll work my way up to six. Maybe not. At least I’m moving.

Rounded up those dust bunnies, even chased a few into their warrens. Dishes were followed by a scrub and shine of the sink. Mirrors were cleaned. Two loads of laundry got done. A full drill of new Dutch words online rounded out my work time. Today I tackle smaller jobs, like dusting the shelves in my room. Ugh. Usually I see the world at my 5 foot 8 inch height. Yesterday I got up on a step ladder to take down the holiday lights on the window and saw all those surfaces that someone as short as me is oblivious of. *sigh* Been a while, and it shows. That’s one of the little jobs that take a lot of time and it’s been put off and put off. These are the things I KNOW I need to tackle. Dusting is a big one; dust shelves in my room, the hall, and the living room. Clean out the stove – ugh. Try to get another moving carton out of the front room.

Been tripping myself up over my new appointment date and time. I’d been focusing for over a week on the appointment that was cancelled. This new one..I keep thinking ‘Oh my gosh! Is it today? Did I miss it?’ and of course the answer is no. It’s tomorrow, and it’s not at the crack of dawn. It’s at a pleasing 1 in the afternoon. Time for breakfast and rumination and my bleeding sit-ups before I go.

With focusing on staying busy for four hours yesterday, my smoke total was kept to 5 Js without much effort. I’d like to repeat that little trick today, and the day after that. The increased activity also meant I was extra tired at bed time and didn’t have a problem falling asleep.

Speaking of little tricks, I’ve backed into one by accident. Part of my cleaning spree yesterday included washing the ashtrays I use. I always empty them every day; nothing more disgusting than a full ashtray. This time I also washed them. It’s had two noticeable effects. One, washing out dirty ashtrays is mondo gross. I couldn’t help but think that’s what my lungs look like, and they’re not so easily cleaned. Two, I have a much harder time dirtying up a clean ashtray. If it’s already dirty, it practically invites me to smoke. But a shiny, CLEAN ashtray? That leads to a bit of guilt – Oh, just look at how clean that is. Do you REALLY want to dirty it up? It doesn’t STOP me from smoking, of course. Just helps delay it another five minutes. Keep delaying 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there, and suddenly hours and hours have passed and you haven’t smoked.

My ashtrays are gonna get washed in regular rotation from now on.

A few jobs escaped me yesterday, so they get moved up a notch towards my ‘urgent’ level. Not that they are, in and of themselves, urgent. I can hardly call going to the hairdresser to make an appointment URGENT. But I’m not gonna let ’em slide, either. What was important to me yesterday is STILL important – despite the butterfly flutter of my brain. It’s a new day, a new focus for me. That’s okay. I can roll with my own punches most of the time. Had to learn to by this age. However, my overriding goal to complete things means that even my hurly-burly desires have to be curbed once in a while.

This and that. Flexibility is always in demand. Flexibility on my RA, flexibility on my moods, flexibility on my level of concentration. I never know exactly how my day is gonna go. I’m as apt to blow my top in anger as I am to blow a knee out while exercising. My only true defense – even I don’t see my smoking as a true ‘defense’, just a crutch – is inner focus. Standing still while moving. Not reacting immediately. Remembering to fill my lungs with air, that I am here, now. The things that take away from my focus, the outer triggers and inner negativity, they flow over me and thru me. They are not me. I am not the sum of my triggers. Nor am I the sum of my upbringing. I am the one who has the ability to rise above this. To stop the madness. To take control.

It all starts with breath.


10 thoughts on “Where it Starts

    1. I feel short here. Lots of people tower over me. LOTS of people. Amazing how many are over 6 feet. Saw a gorgeous woman the other day; she must have been 6’6″ at least. My head came up to the bottom of her boobs, if that (I saw her in passing; I didn’t stop to measure!).

      Liked by 1 person

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