It’s funny how the universe sends you messages when you least expect it. I spent most of the weekend in bed with a head cold that turned into a sinus infection. I couldn’t sleep at night because I couldn’t breathe comfortably. What do I do, but pick up Priscilla Warner’s Learning to Breathe: My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life.
Warner’s memoir chronicles her battle against the panic attacks she’d suffered since she was a teenager. Born Jewish, she opens her mind and body to meditation, Buddhist teachings, and even a Jewish ritual bath, in an attempt to control her panic attacks.
Was the universe trying to tell me something? Perhaps the universe was telling me to slow down, not just physically, but mentally as well. I’ve been burning the candle at both ends recently and my sickness forced me to slow down by keeping me in bed for a couple of days. So i slowed down and read this memoir.
Warner’s journey to find the cause of her panic attacks, essentially to find herself, fascinated me. I have never experienced anything like what she experienced. I can’t even imagine trying to live life the way she did, worried that a panic attack would hit her at any moment. During each attack she felt literally felt like she would die.
As she described her visits to various meditation and Buddhist retreats, classes, therapists, acupuncturists and other specialists, I had a hard time relating to Warner. How could she afford these treatments and retreats? She briefly mentioned her husband worked in the corporate world so maybe that’s how she could take all of these retreats. Would others who suffered from panic attacks be able to identify with her struggle and search for a treatment? I know that I would not have the means to try everything she experienced in the book. I’m not trying to make light of her problems. I know that not everyone can just take a class or visit a retreat on a whim.
The book is separated into three sections: How to Live, How to Love, and How to Die. As she becomes more enlightened about her past and present, Warner discovers that she has more to learn. She takes more classes and goes on more retreats. I would have liked to hear more about her husband’s reactions to each phase of her journey. She shares glimpses of his unconditional support but also mentions a bit of “eye-rolling” on his end. A more detailed insight on her husband’s reactions to each phase of her journey would have made it easier for me to identify with Warner, as I’m at all familiar with most of the teachings and practices she follows.
I think there is a message in the book for everyone. I’m not sure what the message is for me. Maybe I’m just not open to receiving a message from the book at the moment. Or maybe all I can handle right now is to slow down and breathe.
I think I can handle that.
Want to win a Tibetan singing bowl? In the book Priscilla Warner tries several of them before find the one that resonated with her. Playing a Tibetan singing bowl forces you to slow down and concentrate on its beautiful sound.
To enter, just leave a comment below about how you find some quiet and peace in this busy world.
For an extra entry, like From Left to Write’s page on Facebook and leave a comment below.
I’ll draw a winner’s name at the end of the blog tour, Sept 27th.
This post is part of a blog tour for Learning to Breathe: My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life by Priscialla Warner, published by Simon and Schuster. Visit the other blog tour stops every day this week for your chance to win other prizes that Warner used in her journey towards inner peace.
No compensation was received for this post. I received a copy of the book to review. The giveaway prize is courtesy of Simon & Schuster and Priscilla Warner. From Left to Write is not responsible for any lost or misdirected prizes.