Breathing into a Body of Resistance
WARNING: ADULT CONTENT
I have been loving this process of writing about my Lenten journey.
As I hoped, I am discovering things about myself through the discipline of daily writing and self-pleasuring. Initially, I thought that writing openly about self-pleasuring would be the most difficult task. Yes, that’s been challenging and uncomfortable, but I am getting over that. However, I never expected to feel resistant to putting self-pleasuring on my daily schedule. After all, when it happens spontaneously, I love it! Yet, the past few mornings, I have felt resistant. I don’t want to have to do it—to be obligated regardless of my mood. Maybe it’s more about my resistance to scheduling my time, since my greatest resistance has been to schedule in the time for writing. Here I am again, at 10:30 PM and exhausted. I’d rather be in bed asleep than writing.
Most of my life I have been resistant to getting exercise. I know the value and enjoy the results, but have a terrible time making myself exercise. Along the same lines, I tend to breathe shallowly. I have learned various yoga and tantric breathing exercises, but have to push myself to do even a few minutes of them. It doesn’t make sense because some of my most alive, ecstatic experiences have been through breathing techniques.
So I wonder about all my various resistances. One thing they have in common is they are expressed through this body of mine. Resistance to exercise and exertion. Exertion produces deeper breathing. Resistance to deeper breathing. Reluctance to self-pleasuring (how dumb is that?). Deeper breathing increases energy. Increased energy reduces numbness and increases sensations in body and emotions. When parts have been numb or shut down, pain and discomfort are some of the first sensations/emotions that come into awareness. So who wants to feel discomfort and pain?
I have been noticing that at some points while exercising, strong emotions well up within me and I cry. Mostly, I welcome the tears. Once they start flowing, I feel relief. I feel more alive. Often, I move right into feeling ecstatic. A natural high.
Now I am starting to wonder if so many of my resistances are to numb out or shut down some of my feelings, especially grief. And yet in yielding to the emotions, to the grief, to the pain, I am relieved and find joy.
So I will be mindful as I keep my commitments to Lent. Each day I will exercise, I will self-pleasure, and I will write.
Rev. Pressley Sutherland shared this poem with us today for Lent:
What a burden I thought I was to carry –
a crucifix, as did He.
Love once said to me, “I know a song,
would you like to hear it?”
And laughter came from every brick in the street
and from every pore
in the sky.
After a night of prayer, He
changed my life when
—St. Teresa of Avila