Breath and brains

Axel is learning more about what ails him. The symptoms of Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD) – an ailment I didn’t even know existed – match his experiences exactly. I wonder if that is what living in Kabul produced. It sometimes is mistaken for asthma and sometimes accompanies asthma, so we are still in an exploratory phase. The amazing, and good thing, about this ailment is that the treatment is yoga, meditation and generally stress reduction. One might think that living in Lobster Cove would, by itself, be a good stress reduction method, but the last years of breathing problems and doing the specialist circuit have been very taxing on him.

And so we are now stepping up the yoga, the meditation and understanding how the brain mediates between a sense of comfort and security and stress. We are learning about techniques that activate oxytocin production (and suppress cortisol production) and are in awe of our clever brains. We are reading about resilience and what the brain has to do with that and begin to see connections that make some far out things less far out; like the team of yoga and meditators that went out some years ago to the US army in Afghanistan. People made jokes about it, but these folks were on to something.

I also now remember how in the 60s and 70s there was much talk about managing your brain waves through meditation and realize we, human beings, have always known how to do this, going 1000s of years back, until specialized medicine promised easier solutions, like popping pills or surgery. Learning to meditate is hard work and long work, requiring perseverance and starting over again. This in itself is a good foundation for resilience, showing that everything is connected to everything and all happens for a purpose.

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August 2013
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