Breathing, Promotions, and Traveling
How do you restore your strength after class? Do you return to the office for a few minutes? Perhaps, you go to the bathroom or recover in another private location.
With the whirlwind of activities that greeted me within seconds of leaving the lecture hall last Monday, I decided to search for a restorative breathing exercise.
Before I share a valuable tool with you, let me tell you more about how I got here.
With a berimbau in my left hand and the cell in my right, I tapped the message icon. Multiple email messages synched with my inbox after I taught a class about increasing self-awareness and managing anxiety. I didn’t follow my advice.
I told students to limit their daily email and social media distractions. This strategy can help control anxiety and support greater awareness of self.
As I put the instrument in the bag, I previewed a highly anticipated response from the dean’s office.
It contained a reply to my application for promotion from assistant to associate professor. The timing was awful. I needed to leave the campus, fill up the gas tank, stop at the house, refill the generator, and catch a flight.
Regardless of my application’s outcome, I wanted a moment to consider the content. You know, a mindful pause helps with processing information.
I opened the email. The committee recommended approval, and the Executive Dean agreed with their decision. The promotion news came alongside receiving the 2022 Excellence in Academic Advising award.
How do you respond to accomplishments?
The professional acknowledgments of my work enthused me with the energy to travel. Before I boarded the first flight to Miami, I received another congratulatory message from my department's chair. Finally, after almost nine hours of air time, I landed in Los Angeles.
The LAX airport remains under construction, but everything went as planned. I grabbed my bags and took a taxi to my parents' house.
The following day, I dressed and left to attend a conference at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), where I learned about technological trends in the medical field. Afterward, I spent time with my family and prepared for the next leg of my journey.
Moderate exercise can help build your immune system when traveling. Unfortunately, I don't understand "moderate exercise." So I did a 21-mile run per my marathon training schedule before boarding another plane for San Francisco.
Things turned downhill when I arrived in Hayward to participate in a capoeira event. After being away for four years, I enjoyed the classes and connecting with the community at the United Capoeira Association Hayward Batizado and Formatura. The push I received from senior capoeiristas encouraged me to develop my skills. During the transition periods, I struggled.
The capoeira was solid. Mestres reinforced the fundamental movements necessary to improve. The weather was something else.
Antigua's tropical climate melted the fur I had from growing up in Chicago’s winters. I used to be capable of handling sub-zero temperatures. However, after a six-year hiatus from the cold, northern California’s 40°F weather broke me down.
Like in LA, I attempted to acclimate myself to the climate with an outdoor run. I did 3.5 miles to conserve my energy for training. It didn’t work.
I remained warm while in motion, but the idle time on the floor barefoot in a t-shirt and thin capoeira pants messed with me. In Antigua, I briefly celebrated the climb from assistant to associate professor in the ivory tower. Brisk temperatures, fast kicks, and timely dodges in Cali reminded me to stay humble.
Consider it a blessing if you can stay warm in the winter months.
Throughout the weekend, I battled the cold. I wore compression tights under my capoeira pants and a fleece sweater on top when not taking a class.
When things get tough, we either fight, flee, or freeze. I fought and froze throughout the weekend. And on Sunday, I fled with the inspiration to train and share capoeira in a warmer climate.
After arriving in Antigua and listening to the audible book High-Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way, I found the breathing exercise I needed before leaving the island. The author, Brendon Burchard, suggests a 60-second release meditation practice to ease transitions between activities.
What does the release meditation involve? Repeat the word release for one minute and focus on your breath. Set a timer and try it.
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