I went to a naturopath once who told me I wasn’t digesting stuff. She told me to start taking bitters before I ate to get my spleen to pump out some bile.

Then I went to a Reiki master who said I had low self esteem, and that was all around my stomach too. So in the Reiki session she’d spend a lot of time with her hands over my stomach, pulling things around. I felt every single thing she did.

When I feel a strong anger towards someone in my past I feel it as a clenching around my stomach right under my ribs. And when I feel a strong fear about the future, what has been lost to mine, the clenching hugs my lower guts, clasping the lower intestine.

I’ve started trying to send out the clenching, breathing it out, saying out loud, “That’s not going to live in me.” The world outside of my body is a better place for the tension and clenching and grasping.

The anger belongs to me. The fear belongs to me. Anger and fear have proven time and time again to be good friends to me, if only I’ll pay attention. But the clenching gets to make an appearance and then has to get out. I’m not a hotel for tension.

It takes me so long to believe myself. It’s so easy to talk me out of what I know. And yet the aggregated tension likes to park it within me. So cognitively I betray myself, and physiologically the tension makes it’s mark.

That’s a backwards way to live. Move the anger and fear up to your cognitive processing, work and stretch the old tension away. Believe the facts you can see, think them through, move them out of your guts.

This world is a dumpster fire. Today it is also something like a green sauna. I sat in the shade with Paco watching who came and went at a small manufacturing plant we pass on our walks. Across the street a red-orange dog with long, shiny hair was being walked by a woman with short red-orange hair. The dog’s hair looked like the tendrils of a lady in a shampoo ad, and it swung and bounced catching the sunlight as the dog trotted along. Paco pulled at the leash when the red-orange dog got close, and when it became clear the lady was not going to let her dog bark and pull, Paco barked louder and louder. A full bark, the bark of a dog who isn’t going to pay for the bark. He’s small and he enjoys picking fights when it’s clear it’s safe to pick them.

Then it was quiet again. There’s always the sound of bugs buzzing when it’s quiet. I was saying my prayers, which I do during our walks to multi-task. It also helps me to consider the neighborhood when I pray. My neighborhood feels very far away from the absurd chaos I’ve visited that tends to sneak around my guts. Lots of people have guns in my neighborhood. It’s not safe for anyone, even a dude with a gun, to be out at night in my neighborhood. About three blocks from me there is a strip club that is so scary not even the kitchen guys I know go near it. My neighborhood has it’s share of chaos. But this is also the neighborhood I was born into, so I know this chaos very well, and it feels very manageable to me. I don’t go out at night. I never walk by that strip club. (It is next door to the place I took gymnastics when I was little though? I’m assuming the strip club wasn’t there back then, because if not, damn.)

There’s scary chaos, there’s peaceful chaos. There’s chaos you know instinctively how to sail through, there’s chaos that’s going to get your ass. It makes sense I live in the neighborhood I was born in. It makes sense I like to look at it, check in on it, while I’m saying my prayers.

This world can’t be at peace. It’s not the nature of this place. My guts can have periods of sustained relaxation. That’s possible.

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