Taking it one step at a time

I had an astrology reading this week, by an astrologer I’ve been following for years, a gifted, sassy woman who constantly inspires and interests me. I haven’t had my chart read since I was in my early 20s and I figured it was time for an update. I’ll refrain from geeking out on specifics, but there is one thing I want to share which made me laugh, and sigh, and ponder all week.

Here’s the thing, she said, you’re like this warrior with healing and management gifts. You’re intense, and you can make people uncomfortable. You want to be liked, so you try to tone it down, but the truth is, it doesn’t work. It’s like this: imagine there’s a group of army reserves milling about in the local community hall for a function, and then an SAS guy walks in. You’re the SAS guy. 

I was driving to work listening to this, and I snorted, laughed, and then thought, yep, sounds about right. 


I’m  not sure if it was the dark moon in Cancer accompanied by a solar eclipse, or if I was just at a personal low ebb after a menstrual week and 4 months of a job that often asks more of me than I feel inclined to give, but by Thursday night I was cooked. Fried. Finito.

That night I woke up in the middle of an anxiety attack, sure that I had skipped an important step in a project I was working on. I got out of bed and sat in the armchair next to the fire, trying to figure out if I had indeed made an error, or if  it was just anxiety from exhaustion.

The Bear came out to find me and took me back into bed, and as I lay there, I mentally riffled through my grab bag of meditation and breathing exercises, trying to grab ahold of my mind that was threatening to run off with me. The one that came to my mind was the 4×4 or box breathing technique – breathe in for four, hold for four, breathe out for four and hold for four, repeat.

Interestingly, this breathing is used by NAVY Seals, something I found out after I’d been using it for months. Good to know this breathing technique calms warriors as well :).

I lay there in the dark, breathing away, and watching as my anxiety slowly ebbed away. I slept on, but woke feeling fragile and half chewed through, like something the cat dragged in.

To get myself out of bed, I thought to myself, I’ll work from home today – I’ll just go into work, grab my computer, and then come straight home. 

When I arrived at work, I thought to myself, I’ll just bunker down, do those releases and briefs I’ve been putting off, and then I’ll go home. I reckon I’ll be out of here by 12.

As it turns out, when you work in Media and Comms, everyone wants a piece of you and you’re not allowed to be in your metaphorical bunker, but by 12 o’clock, (the time of the new moon/eclipse) I felt more my normal self, and worked on. 

On Saturday morning I woke up early and did a 75 minute grounding yoga practice. I felt positively euphoric. I wandered around the garden with my coffee in hand, annoying the Bear by asking him questions. I did a bit of tidying, some washing and watched the first episode of the new series of Anne with an ‘E’ with my daughter. That night I went to a friend’s birthday party, sat around a mid-winter fire, drank a little too much red wine, talked with friends old and new, and soaked up some cracking tunes the band was playing. I felt positively reborn.

I might be a warrior, but sometimes my bravest act is to get out of bed, or to breathe my way through anxiety. Sometimes courage looks like just taking it one step at a time.

9 comments

  1. “I might be a warrior, but sometimes my bravest act is to get out of bed, or to breathe my way through anxiety. Sometimes courage looks like just taking it one step at a time”.

    Yes! I have to smile and embrace those mornings where just to get about my day requires a centering reclined meditation, a strong cup of coffee and a gentle self-inflicted push out the door. Otherwise, the cycling through of such symptoms would spin me round and round in most unhelpful ways.

    And thinking about it, sometimes just releasing into it: shifting from the knowing/planning/preventing, the understanding How come such a sparkly afternoon after such a shaky morning? that sometimes there is no rhyme or reason for the ebs and flows (well one that I am conscious of) brings opening and trust in the unknowing. And breathing, lying flat on the floor and then slowly rising is the best steps for that day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kate,
      It feels like we’re having a broad ranging conversation tonight, which is lovely. Glad you understand – some days, adulting is very hard to do. Breathing, meditation and coffee seem to be my greatest gifts on those days (actually every day 😊)

      Like

  2. Not to diminish the courage and work of Navy Seals, especially after last week… but you are so right, that doing the things you cannot do and breathing through it take a deal of courage…and not just once, but for some of us many times a day/week/month… I especially love the idea of ‘terrifying’ people a little bit 😬Have certainly done that a few times…not to scare them, but to release my inner warrior. Thank you for the breathing exercise… will no doubt use that one. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think my mum showed me the breathing exercise – she didn’t call it anything, but when I did it, a box would draw itself in my mind. Some time later I came across it in another place called 4×4 breathing. It’s simple and very effective. I don’t mind terrifying people a little bit either 😜 if that’s what it takes to make them remember their manners…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel you on this, Sara. Even warriors need to take a step back sometimes and slow down. Otherwise we end up clocking out completely and then everyone around us wonders why we just “suddenly” broke down. 🙂 I’m coming back from a two-week vacation, and during my time off, it was refreshing not to be charging forward as I normally do, but just to take it easy and not worry so much about things in the far off horizon. Eventually, you find your way back to being that take-charge person, so I think it’s more about recognizing when to release the gas pedal a bit before flooring it again. Happy to see you again in my inbox, it’s been a long while!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lillian! It’s lovely to be writing here again. Yep, us warriors need to put down our weapons sometimes, or be forcefully de-armed 🙂 A holiday sounds very good right now :).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s reassuring to know that the people we admire, who terrify us -I love people who merit it and do it well- and even those we dislike, are humans just like us doing what they do one step at a time. There is no magic lassoo, leaping of tall building or overnight success. We all have ups we can expect to accomplish handhold by foothold, and downs we navigate by inch by corner and some of them blind requiring faith… sometimes just in the course of an ordinary day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beautifully put Dale. There are definitely no overnight successes and we really can’t tell what’s going on with a person from the outside. Hope you’re well and keeping warm!

      Like

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