I keep forgetting to breathe: Letting habits fade away

Of all the disciplines, all the improvements and adjustments we can make for ourselves, one of the simplest is breathing.
Breathing is the simplest action in life, the most basic action in life.
Breathing is a fundamental discipline in so many ways.
Breathing is in the middle between active and automatic activities.
So we can breathe automatically, without thinking about it, but we can also control it.
So breathing really occupies this middle ground between our conscious actions and our unconscious, automatic actions.
Controlling breathing is at the foundation of so many practices of self-development.
You can see it in basic meditation techniques.
You can just see it in common-sense techniques of calming down by taking a deep breath.
It really doesn’t get any more fundamental than that.
And an excellent way to breathe is through using belly breathing, also called diaphragmatic breathing, in which we consciously breathe deeply using our diaphragm, so that we can we expand the belly, focus on expanding the belly when breathing, so that we can take deep breaths deep into our lungs, and really use that big diaphragm muscle to open and close the lungs, to expand and contract the lungs, and bring in good, strong breaths.
So I first learned about this simple technique, started training myself to do it, and I noticed immediately that it had excellent effects of calming and centring me, of really helping me to feel basic even-keel energy, and the basic fuel of having good oxygen flow.
And it helped to relax, because to have this deep belly breathing, we need to relax the belly.
So I train myself, I think about doing it, and for a while I do it, and then, a few days later, start to notice, oh, yeah, I haven’t been doing it.
The habit just kind of faded away.
And then a while later, I trained myself up again, and, you know, put some focus in on it, and started to do it more regularly, and then, again, other distractions came up, other concerns, and again, it faded away.
The practice of the belly breathing just faded away.
So why can’t I maintain such a simple discipline? Well, this is another example of how really so much of changing ourselves is several steps forward, several steps back.
We make changes, but they don’t always stick.
Sometimes they stick partially.
And it seems like in my case, the reason why it’s not yet stuck for me is because I have not made it a requirement.
I have not made it a non-negotiable, absolute thing that I must do.
It’s just kind of a thing that I think would be nice.
And I don’t have a strong narrative that I can tell myself to say this is why I should do it.
It’s just, oh, you know, it would be nice to do it.
So I bring this up as an example of the kind of thing that can happen when we make changes and make improvements but without a strong enough and clear enough direction to what we’re doing.
And also to make the point that, sometimes, change is a very indirect path.
It’s not an upward soaring into the air, but rather, often, many little jumps up and down.
And hopefully getting a little bit higher, landing a little bit higher, with each jump, and learning from each jump.
But ultimately, I have no answer.
I have no excuse.
I just have to try again.
Try again to breathe better.
The most basic action of all.
If we do that better, we can do everything better.

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