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Monday, August 3, 1998
By Paul Ford
I tried my first breathing exercise last night. I was sleepy, with a headache.
Try, but I can't hear my breath because an air conditioner, two fans, and an air purifier are running in the room. It's humid and hot outside.
Turn off the electric devices. Sit down and exhale a sigh, then begin sweating.
Turn off the computer, which is making a noise like a hamster.
Is my spine straight? It'd better be.
Good. There goes the sigh. Feels very thorough. Good start. I begin to calm immediately, then congratulate myself for how well I'm doing, ruining the exercise.
Phone bleats. It's my mother.
Headache is worse. Return to futon. Spine is still straight. Suddenly I realize that this is my body, not someone else's body. I waffle, feel odd, then make sure my feet are flat and let the thoughts wander off.
Breathe the sigh again. Getting better.
Getting to a state of lightness.
Realize that parts of my body are shaking, especially my hands. Not really shaking. Crawling. But not in a negative way. My body seems annoyed with me.
Start thinking about writing a Subway Diary entry about my failed meditation attempt.
Realize the trap I've gone into, replacing the Diary version of the experience with the real. Back to the breath.
Suddenly, an insight: you could combine the lucrative porn and weight loss market, and create a video called "Rimming for Slimming."
Utter shame. I recall the imprecation to let thoughts float by like clouds. Images of Richard Simmons fill my closed eyes.
Realize that my timing is incorrect--there's too much in my world to replace with unpracticed breath, right now.
I must be awake in three hours, to write freelance, so I don't sleep on my bed. Rather, I fold out the futon, so that I will wake up in a strange environment, away from my regular nest. This way, I won't simply smack the snoozebar and keep sleeping.
I obviously have a lot of breathing left to do.