Slow Down (I haven't got the lungs for it)
Week twenty one in 'wake up'
It’s crazy to think that week twenty one’s challenge in ‘wake up’; every day I will walk five times slower than I ordinarily do to a destination of my choice, initially put me on a downer. The simple and very easy challenge brought back a few painful memories which basically for the last three years has had me marching everywhere when everybody else walk’s. I rarely walk, I always march.
Three years ago I was struggling with my asthma. I woke up one morning and it was like a great weight was sitting on my chest collapsing my lungs. Every breath felt like my last, every breath was a desperate clutch at some air. I genuinely thought my time was up. I can’t stress this enough I genuinely thought it was the end. I’d had two bad attacks in my life and thought this was third time unlucky. Fortunately thanks to a doctor at Worcester hospital and a new drug everything turned out fine. The drug was so new that when I collected my prescription chemist’s got over excited about handing it out, “I’ve never heard/seen that one before.”
Between the depressing diagnoses that I was now declared with COPD and my lung capacity was 30% the good doctor suggested I get out of breath as often as I could to stretch my lungs and build up muscle strength, the more out of breath the better. Since then I’ve been on a mission – not to walk but to march and I never want to stop marching. The benefits over time have paid dividends (I climbed Ben Nevis two years later). That’s why there was a tinge of gloom with the challenge.
But I’m in ‘wake up’ to better myself so when the gloom had lifted (about twenty minutes later) I laughed because slowing my walking down by five times is the equivalent of most people’s normal speed! I didn’t think I could lose the challenge and off I went.
On the first day I decided to stroll up to the local shops. I found walking five times slower a real drag and unnatural. I felt as slow as a slug but tried to clear my mind of any negativity. I looked down at the grass and forty yards later I looked up and I seemed a thousand miles away from where I wanted to be, it was like I was walking backwards and treading toffee. The frustration of this slow pace coupled with what is always in the back of my mind with regards to my asthma and what the doctor said three years ago made me stop, throw my rattle out of the pram and quickly march back to the pub and listen to the Jam’s album All Mod Cons to fire up some energy.
Back at the pub I realised I’d failed and yet I didn’t even care about this failure because I want to march, I don’t want to walk slowly, I want my lungs full and working to full capacity! But I don’t like failure and thought I’d give the challenge another go the following day.
My failure to carry out a simple task worried me a little and there was a deep discussion in my head with different voices saying this while other voices said that. The general gist by day two was to pull up my socks and get on with it. But the overriding voice, the one I completely listen to when push comes to shove, said I just couldn’t do it. I wasn’t being stubborn I just wanted and needed to work those lungs. Walking slowly wasn’t for me. I decided for the following three days to spend time looking out of the window and meditating. It wasn’t the same but similar in the sense I was slowing down and observing what was around me and connecting with me and some inner thoughts.
Week twenty one’s challenge was one of the easiest anyone could ask for but I just couldn’t do it. However I wasn’t prepared to give myself a hard time over it. I know why I couldn’t do it. It will be something I will work on in my own time but as an experiment I just couldn’t get in the right frame of mind, I’ve just got to work those lungs. Even though I failed in the challenge in a strange way I feel positive about it and that can only be a good thing in truly waking up.