I can’t keep up with all the things I scheduled myself to do. I still haven’t had a successful filming of my shoulder video yet. I’m way behind my writing out movement lessons. I’m late with two books. I would love to do a new video series, something like my „Getting better day by day” video series on Youtube. But I’m hopelessly behind schedule. I’m like a dog chasing its tail.
James Nestor advertised his workshop for the Feldenkrais Summit 2021 like this: „The most surprising data point I learned while researching my book is that humans are the worst breathers in the animal kingdom.”
I had a good sleep. After waking up I added two hours in bed, worked on improving my breathing. I found back to the very smooth and noise-less way of breathing I had decades ago. Human breathing is very complex and has a lot of options, and thus also a lot of possibilities for error. Do other animals not make mistakes? For a moment I was trying to find out what has bothered me about Andrew Huberman’s interview on the Rich Roll Podcast. Then I added the five or so breathing lessons titled „Glueing in the lungs” from Moshé Feldenkrais to my imaginary reading list. The one that never gets done. I was thinking about my neighbour, whose last two dogs, very cute pugs, both died early because of breathing problems. One of my childhood friends came to my mind. His bulldog had a lifetime of strong breathing problems and contributed more to their apartment’s indoor air pollution than the Chinese burning coal to drive their economy. Somewhere I’ve read that when you stop a songbird’s breath for more than a few seconds it will die.
„Mechanical constraints require that locomotion and breathing be synchronized in running mammals. Quadrupedal species normally synchronize the locomotor and respiratory cycles at a constant ratio of 1:1 (strides per breath) in both the trot and gallop. Human runners differ from quadrupeds in that while running they employ several phase-locked patterns (4:1, 3:1, 2:1, 1:1, 5:2, and 3:2), although a 2:1 coupling ratio appears to be favored.” – Running and breathing in mammals, Science Magazine
I had an espresso in my favourite coffee shop. I consider this a success. Read the chapters „Comprehension Through Prediction” and „Surface Structure and Deep Structure” from Frank Smith’s excellent book Understanding Reading. Then I deleted all three of James Nestor’s books from my library, and worried: „Am I allowed to do this?” And worse, may I write about what I just did? Or will this shine a bad light on me? Maybe I will look him up later, to see if he is physically able to speak. Speaking, producing spoken language, vastly independent from moving, is the ultimate control of breathing, something quite unique to us humans. Without a doubt, humans are the most advanced breathers in the animal kingdom. But learn how to use our freedoms and abilities, we must. Lifelong learning it is.
Then I compared the original ending of Raymond Carver’s essay „Why Don’t You Dance?” to the one edited by Gordon Lish:
- „She kept talking. She told everyone. There was more, she knew that, but she couldn’t get it into words. After a time, she quit talking about it.” (Carver)
- „She kept talking. She told everyone. There was more to it, and she was trying to get it talked out. After a time, she quit trying.” (Lish)
This made me think about the story of the very healthy looking man I have seen in the subway, 20 years ago, the one I quit talking about.
I still haven’t written anything related to my work today, apart from the above paragraphs. The daily blog post is my hobby, and does not pay for my next espresso. However, it does give me a daily feeling of having achieved something. I click on „Publish”. I might allow myself to order another espresso.