Breathing Out and Breathing In


Last Monday, I was doing my qigong practice and I noticed that I wasn’t able to fill my lungs to capacity. I was getting about 90% and then, my lungs would tickle and cough. It wasn’t a sensation I felt in the normal shallow breath of daily living. An x-ray on Wednesday showed that one of the chemo drugs had indeed begun to inflame my lungs, as had been mentioned as a risk all along. It’s one of those things that the hospital staff are so concerned about that they keep intoning it, like a mantra. I was very lucky that I caught the problem so early on – yay for qigong and daily full-breath practices.

So, I’ve been on steroids and that has been a huge mental challenge for me. I’ve swanned through chemo, accepting that as what needs to happen. But over the last few days, I’ve fallen at a minor hurdle. I’ve been upset because I’ve come across a complication that I wasn’t expecting. I’ve had steroids before, for asthma. They are a drug that are prescribed for all sorts of everything. I think it’s the fact that I’m taking 20 tablets a day for the first five days. TWENTY tablets! That’s freaking me out. But I’m nearly there – tomorrow, I start tapering down to only 16 tablets, then 12….until I’m finished.

At this half-way mark, I am very much looking forward to getting back to my bouncy self. My energy is steady, with few peaks and troughs. I feel like I’m in a holding pattern, waiting to land again. The sages tell us that it’s best to live from this steady energy place, so we do not waste resources being overly negative or overly enthusiastic. We should be flowing with regularity. All the same, in a few months time, I’m going to jump out of bed and shout, ‘PANCAKES!’ And I’m going to leap around as I mix the eggs and flour and milk – as opposed to yesterday, when I very calmly went through those motions.

So all I can do is come back to the breath for now. The breath is the interface between the external and the internal, the passage of enlightenment. It is natural for all living things to open up a chink, to let the light in, to awaken, see and understand. And then we are accustomed to closing over to integrate and gestate, before the the next genesis. This breathing out and breathing in is essential to our minds and bodies and through this mechanism, we can access our True Selves, where nothing changes, where constancy is real and steady and flowing, without strain.