Thursday, October 19, 2006

On remembering to breathe ...

Well ... the good news that it seems to be only the official Belgian postal system that steals ... I mean loses, my parcels.

Marylou had sent me a book I had won over at Blogher ... couriered it, and goodness ... disappearing parcels spell broken, it arrived.

I am now the owner of one Ariana Huffington book titled 'On Becoming Fearless' and I have to say that the first two chapters have spoken directly to my little fear-filled heart.

The first time I couldn't breathe I was 9 years old and my teacher had just told us that we children wouldn't probably survive much past the age of 16 ... the oceans were becoming polluted with oil slicks, nuclear power was a dangerous reality, the oil would run out and basically we were all doomed.

I had been put ahead a year and was then held back in his class for a second year, just to be sure that no mistakes were being made with those 6 of us moved ahead of ourselves.

I suffered that man for two years ... even worse, I had no idea that his word wasn't gospel. I had panic attacks that no one could understand ... not even me.

The next time I had trouble breathing, I was living at home for a few months while I went to university for my belated degree. My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and over that time, my breathing once again became shallow and left me quietly gasping on occasion.

My old foe has come back to haunt me. I ignored it at first, imagining some technicolour disease that must be ignored however it just occured to me that setting myself up in business in a country not my own must be up there on the list of 'stressful things one can do in one's life'.

I didn't know what to expect from Ariana's book, and had to smile when I realised I was furtively reading it just now on the tram ... fearful of judgement I guess.

Already I've marked some of the pages: 'The most common response to this crisis of self is conformity: 'The individual,' Erich Fromm writes in Escape from Freedom, 'ceases to be himself' he adopts entirely the kind of personality offered to him by cultural patterns; and he therefore becomes exactly as all others are and as they expect him to be ... This mechanism can be compared with the protective colouring some animals assume.'

I thought, okay ... so I will go on with my unprecedented belief in self because I surely can't conform to the society around me.

My ex-husband once told me that 'I marched to the beat of a different drum' and he said it like it was a good thing.

He later divorced me ;)

So here's to the different drumbeat leading me out into life yet again ... and to remembering to breathe and breathe deeply.

Tot ziens.


Manic said...

Different drum beats are the source of rythme in the world. Do keep on beating the beat you beat and do not conform with Belgium life style, embrace it but don't conform with it.

woman wandering said...

You wise old thing, you.

(A compliment in kiwi-speak) :)

christina said...

*runs out to buy the book*

I've been conforming for much too long but there's still hope for you. :-) Stay just the way you are.

woman wandering said...

Hey Christina ... if you like, I'll either bring it to Bonn or post it to you when I'm done with it. I've got a dvd you might enjoy too :)