Posted in Air, Autumn, Earth, Eastern Shore, Mindfulness, NaBloPoMo, Nature, Photography, Quotes, Spirit, Walking & Wandering

Breathe

Earth's breath in the reeds
Earth’s breath in the reeds

The practice is simply this: keep coming back to your breath during the day.  Just take a moment.  This will give your mind a steadiness and your breath a gracefulness . . . There’s so much to let go of, isn’t there?  Your nostalgia and your regrets.  Your fantasies and your fears.  What you think you want instead of what is happening right now.  Breathe.

~ Rodney Yee, Yoga: The Poetry of the Body

Wind in the oak
Wind in the oak

It’s morning, and I’m sitting here thinking about, concentrating on, the breath.  Inhale.  Exhale.  Too shallow.  Try again.  Inhale.  Exhale.  Take a deep breath.  Pause.  Let it go.  What is it I’m letting go of?  The breath, the tension, the fear.

I am dealing with a fear today.  It’s a silly little thing, but I’ve had it forever and no amount of immersion therapy seems to help.  However, it is something I need to do so I will do it.  I am going to get in the car and drive for the first time since moving to the Eastern Shore.

Turbulence
Turbulence

Those who have followed me for a while already know, maybe, that I have a fear of driving.  I drive when I have to, but it seems that every time I drive the car, the fear grows worse, and I worry that there is a limit to that fear, that I have so many drives left in me before I can’t do it at all.  I know that isn’t true, although it could be true if I were to allow it to be true.

Driving here should be easy for me, I think, once I get past this first drive.  There is some traffic around here, but not much (especially if you compare it to the traffic in the Baltimore and D.C. areas).  I want to be able to drive myself to Assateague Island so I can roam around with my camera and not feel as if I’m holding someone else up while I slow walk or spend an hour in the same area, watching and listening and learning.  I want to be able to take myself to the store to do the shopping.  I want to go to Chincoteague or to the library or to get my hair cut without having M drive me.  Mostly, I want to banish this fear, but wonder if that’s even possible at this point.

Light at the end of the trail
Light at the end of the trail

In about an hour or so I will get in the driver’s seat of the car, start it up, grasp the steering wheel tightly, and white knuckle my way to a hair salon to get my hair cut.  It’s an easy drive.  A left out of the driveway (and I have 1/4 mile of driveway to warm up and recall my driving skills!), a right at the end of our road, a left at the first light, straight on for about 14 miles, take a left, stay to the right around a small curve in the road, and I’m there.  The return trip will be even easier.  Left and around the curve, right to get back on the highway, right on a road that runs on a diagonal (a shortcut on a back road), another right, a left, and the final right back to the driveway and home.

The important thing is to remember to breathe.

Blustery day
Blustery day

Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?

~ Mary Oliver

Time for me to get up and walk and think about other things for a little while.  Thank you for visiting, and sitting with me as I work my way through my fear.  I feel better already.  When I return from my trip, I’ll go for a walk and see what the strong wind wrought yesterday.

Fearless Robin
Fearless Robin.  (Paint strokes on the sky done in Photoshop.)

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

35 thoughts on “Breathe

  1. I fear driving bikes… My roommate has a bike I often drive… And one’d have to be rich, considering the norms here, to own a car (I’ve never driven a car before). I think of what’s ahead after the driving the part… That works for me… Maybe that’ll work for you too… 🙂

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  2. You breathe so big in your blog…perhaps some of it will wrap around you in the car. Those fluffy grasses/reeds are so lovely – they shall whisp you on your way and welcome you back. Remembering to breathe is no simple task – many never really learn. That a great quote! (I need to put that in ink on my hand)

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  3. What beautiful photos today, Robin. I hope your trip was peaceful and uneventful. I avoid driving when I can, although for many years I had to back and forth to work and life. Then I married a most wonderful husband who loves to chauffeur me, keep me company, and is always happy to push the shopping cart. I am blessed, and drive so rarely now that I can completely understand your feelings this morning. I hope the kitchen has come together and will be ready for you to cook later this week. Best wishes, WG

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  4. Ahhh…I am glad it went OK. I know about fear of things that others seem to do so easily. Frustrating. I do believe it can be overcome to some degree though and hopefully today went better than OK and a little bit of it was left on the road in your dust.

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  5. Did I ever tell you that there was a time when I was afraid of birds? (And you know how I love to take their photos and hand feed them now!) One day I will write a post about my fear. You are a very brave woman Robin and I admire your strength, so I know that you can overcome this fear if you really want to. Meanwhile, keep breathing as you drive. xxx

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  6. OOOOO so there IS a way to do them!!! I was going to resist suggestions to ‘fix’ you. I have failed. I suggest driving a smash-up derby, all of the what ifs will just go out of the window AND you get to smash up cars!!

    I get upset over being able to sequence driving in and to new places. I have neuro issues with doing that. I managed to get me to the downtown of the college where one of my kiddos has attended for three years now, just yesterday! I was rewarded (ok fine I bought myself) a used Wendell Berry book for $4!! I also stopped along the side of a busy road at a wee antique-type barn shed place and got myself a special little white ceramic box, also for $4. Have a good day, I wonder if you will be getting snow and such later today?

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  7. Yes, breathing is important – for so many reasons. I like the quote by Rodney Yee. And the images are really lovely – feel like acts of meditations. Beautiful colours and lights. My favourite is abstract second one. Gives rise to many associations. Breathing. And I am sure the drive went just fine. 🙂

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  8. It is those irrational fears that are the hardest to conquer, I think. I suffer from a bit of anxiety, some of which is relieved with medication, and it seems to strike at the oddest times. I learned, finally, to do as you said – breathe. Deeply. And get out of my head, into the world around me. It seems to work. Most of the time.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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  9. Glad to hear you were able to take the first step in conquering your fear, Robin. You are one giant leap ahead of me. I’m even afraid to be a passenger in a car… 😦

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    1. I’ll tell you a secret, Dana… I don’t like being a passenger in a car, either, especially on highways that have heavy truck traffic. I try to sit back and relax, but I rarely accomplish it.

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      1. We have a Japanese import van, which is interesting b/c it’s right-hand drive. As the passenger (always, I don’t drive at all), I sit on the ‘driver’s’ side and get the anxiety of being in both positions at once…

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  10. Good for you… When I’m feeling fearful, I try to take it little tiny bits at a time…maybe 10 seconds and then 10 more seconds etc…and I keep coming back to a focus on why I want to go someplace…because I’m so curious!…maybe “focus” on the wonderful photos you might take when you get somewhere? that seems to get/keep me motivated. Hope you keep making progress…as you say…breathe…. (I have a card taped to the dashboard in my car…it says “well certainly I can do this one thing”… focusing on that 10 seconds idea again….wishing you well…

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  11. Hi Robin. Good for you! I was afraid to drive in California when I was there, but my brother handed me the keys and so I got in and we had a lovely drive to the ocean. My fear was of getting lost but my son used his GPS and navigated away. It is easy to lose confidence in driving. My Mom drove for years when I was young but she quit driving regularly and although she could drive when she was older, she was often hesitant. You are right that driving gives you freedom to go when you want to. Remember, you can always pull over and take a breather. Jane

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    1. Thank you, Jane. 🙂 I was thinking a GPS might help me with some of my fear (since part of it is a fear of getting lost). It might be reassuring to have a computer voice telling me where to go (or it might get me lost…lol!).

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Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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