Sorry about the blog tease on Monday and then leaving you guys hanging. Also, for the record, I don't have asthma, and Drollgirl's breathing exercise helped a lot (thanks!) , as did everyone's suggestions that I try yoga or some other sort of exercise.
I actually do martial arts about two or three times a week, so that's plenty exhausting and a great way to blow off steam; however, I still hold my breath quite often, even as I'm working out. I just need to become a better breather, and I'd study meditation if I wasn't so damn squirrely all the freakin' time. In case you can't tell from my writing style and thought process, most of the time I am a high energy, A.D.D.-soaked spaz who runs from one project and person to the next trying to do everything and help everyone at the same time. And sometimes my body just forces me to stop, or starts issuing me not so gentle warning signs. Like when it wakes me up in the middle of the night because I've stopped breathing.
I've been talking to a lot of people over the past few days about fire, and change, and more than one clever person has pointed out that my blog name is Phoenix. I've always loved that image, and have always associated myself with a phoenix, finding strength and resilience in the trials of fire, always changing into something bigger and stronger and from early on I learned to use what others intended to destroy me with to instead create growth within myself. Basically, I had to learn to grow what others had tried to kill.
The irony is, I'm also very afraid of change. (Refer to earlier post of "what kind of girl loves the things she's terrified of?") And as I pursue a career in what can be termed loosely as a very unpredictable business full of change, it's not always easy to roll with the punches. I have my habits, my systems, my patterns, and when I have to deviate and improvise, I can occasionally go from mostly mature young woman to brat in a matter of seconds. I'm not proud of this, by any means.
To add to this, it finally hit me why my breath was so short while the fires are roaring away in SoCal...and no, it's not just the air quality.
It's very hard to breathe when you're grieving.
As I spoke with a friend on the phone Monday night, I told him that at times I feel what the rest of LA feels; that it is very difficult to live in this city. There are so many people crowded into the same streets and buildings and jobs and land that sometimes I feel like I'm running out of breathing room. So in true New Englander fashion, I go for a hike. I get out of the urban jungle gym, I walk down the dirt paths, past the trees waving in the wind, through the streams and across the rocks and I let all the grubbiness and stickiness of the city wash away until I feel clean again.
This fire is burning up everything in LA that I love, leaving only the hardened ugly parts behind. How is that fair?
But my friends are more clever than I am, or maybe simply less emotionally involved. They are quick to point out that fire cleanses too, that it burns off everything old and rotten and decaying and makes room for more growth. My hiking trails are not gone. They are changed. What's been burned will regrow into something healthy and flowering and beautiful, and it is not my place to grieve when such a transformation occurs.
As for those who have lost their homes, their pets, their land, and their lives - my heart goes out to every single one of you. I would never tell you that this fire has been "for the better" or that your homes or your land was something rotting that needed to be cleansed. I speak only from my experience, living safe and sheltered at a good distance away from the fires, and my heart grieves along with yours for all the change coming your way that you might not feel ready for. I am so sorry for your loss.
Thursday Thirteen on Saturday
4 days ago