So the other night Brynden (our 13-year-old) and I were headed to a dad/son gathering when he mentioned that his neck has been sore whenever he stretches it. I’m no doctor but he is healthy in every other way so I suggested that it might be tension or stress.
He tends to get worked up rather easily and is just a couple of months into a new school semester after two and a half years of homeschooling. It was his idea and we believed he was ready but he was still fairly nervous heading into it.
So we talked a good 10-15 minutes about learning to relax.
I explained that it’s not that uncommon for most people to get tense without even realizing it but that our body feels it and lets us know with little aches and pains. I mentioned that clenching or tightening our shoulders is a biggie and could easily cause the kind of neck soreness he was describing.
When I talked about being intentional with learning to relax he asked if that was why I did stretching every morning. I told him it was and explained that stretching is half of it while the other half is breathing deeply while doing them to help push oxygen all through the body.
I even mentioned learning to be aware of certain situations that make us tense and being careful to practice deep breathing whenever we felt the tension building.
About that time we pulled into a pizza place to pick up our order.
Five of the pizzas we ordered were ready but they had forgotten to cook the sixth one. I don’t eat pizza very often so when I do I make sure to get at least one that I especially enjoy. Guess which one they forgot to make? Yep! My favorite.
We substituted a couple orders of bread sticks but I was ticked. When we got back in the car to leave I growled and yelled “Dang it! That makes me mad!”
That’s when Brynden, in a matter-of-fact sort of way, asked:
“Would this be a good time for deep breathing Dad?”
“Yes! Yes it would! Thanks!”
[In… out… in… out… slow it down…]
When I talked with Brynden about learning to relax I hadn’t planned on having to practice it so soon, but it was good to know he had been listening.
I know… it was only pizza. But the point is that we all need to learn to be more intentional about relaxing. Perhaps that is a part of why David wrote, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
Some of us wear hurry and stress like a badge of honor even though it tends to destroy our health and attitude.
May our breathing today be slow and deep no matter what we are facing. And remember, nothing we come up against is a surprise to God; and He is still on His throne!
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.