Yes, I understand that every life must end, aw-huh,..
As we sit alone, I know someday we must go, aw-huh,..
Oh I’m a lucky man, to count on both hands
the ones I love,..
Some folks just have one,
yeah, others, they’ve got none, huh-uh
Stay with me,..
Let’s just breathe.
~ Pearl Jam/Eddie Vedder
Today as I was working, running boxes to our new house, meeting with our contractor, packing boxes in our current house, calling the insurance company to clarify a billing dispute, going grocery shopping, playing with E & Q and exercising for the first time in several weeks, E’s Chinese Medicine doctor called to check on her since it has been several weeks since we have been in to see him. I reassured him that 1. she was making progress and 2. we would be back when things calm down a little bit. He was very lovely, as he always is, and as we were getting off the phone, he said, “don’t forget to breathe”. I assured him I would or wouldn’t (you understand) and at that moment noticed the present tightening in my chest that exists during my times of great stress, it is also qualified as anxiety (I am ok family, don’t worry…)..as we hung up I did as he reminded me to do and took a deep inhale and slowing blew the air out through my mouth…it felt as if I hadn’t done it in days…well more specifically since Saturday night.
Saturday night as a complement to the Polo tournament I had to attend for work in Santa Barbara (the event planner is a close friend and client, and yes we did see Prince William and yes they are fabulous in person), we ended up getting last minute tickets to see Eddie Vedder at the Santa Barbara County Bowl. KSP is a huge music guy and I do love me some Pearl Jam so we decided to go since we were there anyway and we would drive back to LA after the concert. The Santa Barbara County Bowl is a beautiful outdoor venue nestled on the hill in Santa Barbara and it is, in a word, stunning. You walk up a long steep road to get to the amphitheater and as we stood at the bottom, the anxiety took over….because you see the last time we were there I was 25 weeks pregnant, just 3 weeks shy of having E & Q. As I stood at the bottom this time, I looked up the hill and remembered on that last outing clearly telling everyone around me just how “fine” I was to walk up the hill. I was rather large by that point in my pregnancy and despite offers from the staff to transport me up the hill in on a golf cart shuttle, I refused the offers so I wasn’t the only one arriving at the Killers Show by cart, I could walk up like everyone else. By the time our group got to the top, I was exhausted. Normally, due to KSP’s job we get very good seats when we go to shows, but for some reason this time, our friends were in the pitt and we handing standing seats. Being that we had only been there for 5 minutes and I was already tired, I wasn’t sure how I would stand for the next 2 hours while Brendan Flowers belted out “Reasons Unkown”. KSP went to talk to the Security man who took pity on me and went to find 2 chairs that he would put in the section reserved for wheel chairs, and now, apparently, large waddling pregnant women with tree trunk legs. Even as I sat in that chair the voice inside my head cautioned me now to overdue it and simultaneously reprimanded me for overdoing it. As I walked up the hill 2 years later, I was enveloped by anxiety and sadness.
The weather had been nice this past Saturday so it wasn’t too chilly and as we sat in our seats Eddies voice lilted over the crowd and penetrated my heart. The sky was turning a grey blue and the stage overhang turned black against the sky as the sun went down. I put my head of KSP’s shoulder and was reminded of a post I read recently http://deborah-bryan.com/2011/07/06/mourning-has-broken/ where she wrote about being at the graveside of her mother and at a moment of loss started singing Kenny Roger’s “The Gambler” because it was one of her mother’s favorite songs and how it helped her find meaning in that moment. My mind drifted to how powerful music can be as it can almost literally play in our hearts. I continued to watch the sky and just as Eddie started to sing these most powerful lyrics in “Just Breathe,” a small family of owls flew into one of the tall trees just next to the stage. There were 3 of them and gracefully they landed and hid themselves amongst the leaves. I am pretty sure they were packing a joint, a recording device with a flash and a bottle of wine all of which are banned, but were clearly amongst our fellow concert goers that evening. I continued to look for them and listen to Eddie’s words and then almost involuntarily I felt the air fill my lungs. It was fresh and pure and as I exhaled I let go a piece of the sadness that has weighed heavy on my heart. I have no idea how much is there and how long it will be before it goes away totally but just like any difficult time in life there may be a smell, a place, a song that takes you back there, but often if you let it, just as quickly as it came there may be a smell, a place, or a song that helps give meaning and can take a little of that load away.
So for today, as so many of us carry burdens, small and large, my song dedication to you is “Just Breathe”. Even one good deep breath can help and this small lightening of your load can help make it ‘yournewfavoriteday’. I wish you many deep breaths and as Eddie says, I too feel very lucky to be able to count the ones I love on both hands (I even need to go to feet at this point – high class problems, sorry if you are on the foot count, at this point they are more like talons, I desperately need a pedicure). So if you want to, as you read this…”Stay with me and let’s just breathe”.