Breathing Like an Eel

When the hump on Hump Day is a big one and sits squarely on top of me...

...the short of it comes on Thursday...

Coming upon moray eels while scuba diving, well, they give you a start. Their green heads jut out from rocky, coral reef bottoms. Wide-eyed creatures, their mouths open and close ominously. (Need a picture? Check this one out.  Pretty intense, huh?) Rarely moving in the daytime, their bodies are tucked away among the rocks, leaving their true length to the imagination: a big head means a long serpent-like body wound into its hide-out. In reality, they are shy creatures. Their mouths open and close to help them breathe; that movement increases water flow over their gills.

Over the last several days, I’ve thought a lot about those eels. I’ve imitated their daytime movement. To unclench my teeth. When I feel a shooting pain go up my neck and into my head, I breathe like an eel. I loosen my jaw, open my mouth, and take in air. I detach my shoulders from my ears, unfurl the protective hunch, and lift up my head.

The stress over making tough decisions – not over life-threatening issues but “first world problems” that we are so lucky to have – lives very physically in my perfectionist body. But then there’s the thing called “relativity” – after all, they are our tough decisions. The trick is to find that subjective, tedious balance between the two realms of thought.

One would think after that year of cancer, I would hold perspective a bit better, but this week I’m caught under that humpy animal and breathing like an eel.