‘Being’ requires consistency and structure to support its otherwise lifelessness. We never speak of the dead as lifeless -only the living who have had the metaphorical wind knocked out of them by a one-two punch; or have been rendered unconscious by a knocked down, dragged out KO.
A temporary hit or a life-altering change will also render a person or thing ‘lifeless’. A sick child is described as “lifeless”. A ramshackled and abandoned farm house loses its vitality, a house suffering from Empty Nest Syndrome is described as “lifeless” as a For Sale sign is placed on the lawn with resigned acceptance and a yearning for the old structures and consistencies.
Once structure is regained, life is renewed and the breathe returns to normal. Life is full of interruptions that often hit us from behind. Some interruptions we spontaneously recover from with barely an afterthought. Others leave permanent impressions, like scars, that will forever trigger a memory of the event. And, if we are lucky, a recognition of the lessons learned.
But, what happens when the interruption is not followed by a recovery; or even a lesson? How then does one learn to breath in a new way when the wind of normal breathing blows in harsh and irregular patterns – when the process of an inhale is met with resistance and pain rather than regeneration and vitality? How can we exchange the old for new when expiration is fragile and shallow?
Can a fish learn to breath air? They say that in time all organisms adapt to a new environment. When the lake is sucked dry, the fish evolves or becomes extinct. Indeed survival occurs only among the most creative and adaptable among the species. And this process usually results in a more highly developed classification – a new creation. The ability to continue to evolve in the process of a changed environment is essential to life and living. So, when our being is threatened by a sudden lack of structure and loss of the consistencies we have come to depend upon, we have to create a new structure and new consistencies. But, the fear of the unknown is often the enemy that jeopardizes our very survival.
Maybe the question is not how one will survive this loss of structure and consistency; but how to challenge the unknown in ways that eventually become commonplace – until the next unexpected hit. But, the next time, we have the experience of our last challenge to insure us that “This too shall pass.”
If we believe that all challenges are opportunities to recreate ourselves, then I think we have begun the process of learning how to breath underwater!