It’s All About Breathing

Bad idea.  It’s Friday morning and I wanted to get an early start on my weekend, so I took myself to the beach.  I came before the crowds, hoping to get some writing in so I could go home and post something on my blog.  What was I thinking?

I couldn’t take my eyes off the ocean.  Today is another Red Flag day with huge, pounding waves, white foam spewing from the rolling breakers, the air filled with the briny scent of sea.   A laughing gull soared overhead, a sailboat floated on the horizon, the bright-striped ribbon of a parasail in the distance, a dolphin fin broke the surface of the water.  A lone grey gull meandered towards me, hoping for a handout, but I know better than to feed gulls (wish tourists did!), and he wandered off again.  Two Navy jets, F-18 Super Hornets, screamed across the sky, followed a few minutes later by two more.  The sound of freedom, as they say in this Navy town.

I put my notebook back in my beach bag.  I couldn’t get the graphite to descend from my mechanical pencil anyway, no matter how many times I clicked it.  I shouldn’t have kept it in the bottom of my beach bag; sand and mechanical pencils are not good company.  I stood at the tide line, feeling the pull of the sand as each wave receded, pulling me deeper into the moment.

I went back to my chair, closed my eyes, and lost all track of time as I listened to the sounds around me:  the whoosh of the waves, the squeals of the children as the cold water crashed over them (though my sons, used to Cape Cod waters would find our ocean perfectly tepid), the humming engine of a passing boat, the shriek of a lifeguard’s whistle.  I opened my eyes and was surprised at how fast the beach had filled up.   People had begun setting up their beach chairs, umbrellas, and cabanas close to me.  Too close.  I checked my watch, and with a sigh, packed up and headed for the car.

As I walked back, I thought of my t’ai chi instructor this week, encouraging us to do our t’ai chi breathing while we went through our forms.  She said the forms didn’t have to be perfect, but we must remember to breathe and pay attention to our breath.  “When you do that,” she said, “everything else on your mind, your worries, your anxieties, your busyness, will all melt away and you will feel connected to this earth.”  My yoga teacher yesterday said essentially the same thing.  When you pay attention to your breathing, it’s like meditating and you feel at one with yourself, not fragmented like you do when you are hurrying around trying to get things done.

I’m trying to be more conscious of that, the need to grasp that inner peace that eludes me if I don’t pay attention.  This morning at the beach, it was like breathing in the moment. Next time I will come earlier.  And I will bring more coins for the parking meter.

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About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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20 Responses to It’s All About Breathing

  1. These scenes look a lot like Lake Michigan. I learned from my yoga instructor to breathe and walk. One step-inhale, next step-exhale. It’s impossible for me to let my mind wander anywhere with this exercise.

    • comingeast says:

      I am not very good at controlling my breathing yet. I know it’s really the key, and I need to practice more. I’ve never seen Lake Michigan, but I would love to. My husband keeps telling me he’s going to take me to Chicago one day, but I’m still waiting. He used to take business trips there and loved it.

  2. huffygirl says:

    Well, looks like you got some writing done after all. And some great photos for the weekly photo challenge of “hot.” I wish my beach was close enough to go there to write. We don’t have dolphins though. 😦

    • comingeast says:

      I hadn’t even thought about those pictures qualifying for the photo challenge! LOL! Er…I mean, yeah, of course I meant that beach picture to be my answer to the weekly photo challenge…Thanks, H.G.

  3. Loved this post! Beautiful pictures too. The key to life is taking the time to breathe and just be in the moment, soaking it all in. I still practice this every day and am slowly getting better at it. I have never tried t’ai chi before, I do practice yoga and meditation so I might have to check into that now, thanks!

    • comingeast says:

      I need to work more on the meditation. There is so much about life that can stress you out, so any tools you have that can bring you into living in the moment are certainly a big help. Yoga does that for me, too. I always feel so good the last fifteen minutes of a session, during the final relaxation. Wish that feeling could last, don’t you?

  4. Robin says:

    I love your writing. I feel as though I was transported to the beach with you. 🙂

  5. Judith says:

    Well I just knew you were at the beach today Susan. I went with Lotte my dog along the beach too and guess what, we share the same ocean. New Zealand is in the south-west Pacific Ocean, along the junction between the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates. Good to know we are so close.
    And where on the Richter scale does housework lie?

    • comingeast says:

      Love how the Internet just shrinks the world! I have to admit that my house looks like it’s been through an earthquake, but I’ll worry about it next week. Maybe. Doesn’t the beach soothe the soul?

  6. mypajamadays says:

    See – the beach did its job, it inspired you. Beautiful photos too.

  7. winsomebella says:

    Lovely pictures and words that made my Friday. Breath in, breath out. It does work.

    • comingeast says:

      And when you pay attention to your breathing, as we do in t’ai chi and yoga, you really do shut everything else out. I’m glad I added something to your Friday as you always enrich my life!

  8. For you, it is the Atlantic Ocean. For me, it is the Pacific. It sounds like we share a love of the ocean and the inner peace it brings.
    The photo of the ocean, sailboat, and the parasail is amazing!

    • comingeast says:

      Is your water any warmer than ours? I wish I’d had a better lens so I could have gotten a better picture, but I don’t take my good camera to the beach.

  9. Patti Ross says:

    Thanks for the reminder to breathe! The beach really helps that connection–thanks for sharing.

  10. Julia says:

    Reading this, I could practically feel like I was there! I’m generally not so much a beach person, but this sounds lovely. I also very much like the expression “the sound of freedom.” I love how different places have local sayings. Beautiful, relaxing post!

    • comingeast says:

      I actually continued my relaxing day by taking myself out to lunch (a lobster roll!) and eating it outside while reading my latest Writer’s Digest. I’ll get to the housework on Monday.

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