Blood Pressure on an Elevator

So, after two weeks of dieting, I have another food allergy!

You wouldn’t think that I would be excited about that. But it can really give you a new outlook on life when you realize how much stuff you can’t eat anymore. It makes you appreciate the stuff you can eat. (Okay, when I’m not poring over nutrition labels, praying I don’t see the one ingredient I am looking for and weeping over empty pizza boxes without being allowed to taste their contents.) Then, I am pretty excited about my new food allergy.

What I’m upset about is my blood pressure is still high. Like really high. And this can come from a variety of influences, obviously. Stress being one of the largest. So, I’ve been trying yoga, sniffing lavender, and counting breaths, but to no avail. It is still rather elevated, which is making me feel rather down in the dumps. I can’t seem to find a way to calm down enough to see some low numbers. Even talking about it now, I’m stressed.

And don’t get me started on that blood pressure cuff. Really, who invented that? Oh, I know, let’s make people really uncomfortable so that we can tell if they have a healthy stress level! I can’t stand that tightening feeling, or the sudden rush of all my blood through my arm so loud I can almost hear it as well as feel it. The act of taking my blood pressure makes me stressed out, which, as you might have guessed, does not give me good results.

So, why does this matter to you (other than documenting a case of some severe TMI from me)? It’s because there is a really important lesson wrapped up in this, coursing through the veins of the matter, if you will.

It’s the simple idea that if you over think something, it becomes harder to attain. I mean, have you ever tried to “calm yourself” down while sitting in that doctor’s office? What about trying to “slow your heart rate” when the nurse is squeezing that little torture device that makes the cuff constrict on your arm? It’s really hard, isn’t it? Actually, it’s damn near impossible. There is a reason for that (and maybe even an app for it, too).

It’s because you are focusing on what makes you stressed, when you should be letting everything go. Simple, right? So, you just have to think about something else…except that’s hard, too. Really, it’s the moment that we ask “What? Me? Angry?” when there is a vein throbbing in our forehead. These are the moments we all need to pay attention to more. The times when our emotions don’t really match our thoughts.

In the end, we need to stop forcing it (whatever “it” may be in your life) and start letting some things come naturally.

So, if you want to relax, if you want to calm down, if you want to be at peace, then put down the lavender and listen. But don’t listen to me. Listen to yourself and your own needs. After all, unlike your age, your blood pressure isn’t just a number. It’s a greater expression of the number of breaths you may be able to take in this life, so every single. one. counts.

Be Like a Tree and Leaf It Be

Happy Autumnal Equinox!

This is the time when all of the trees lose their leaves but not before they turn a beautiful port wine, russet color. It’s a gorgeous sight to see all the crowns and tops aflame (figuratively, of course, before you get the wrong idea). But besides being an ephemeral beauty, what can trees teach us?

We know that trees can provide us with the entertainment of the season, the crackling of their leaves’ husks under our feet. But they bear a simple message that we need to remember, not just now, but all year round. It is this:

If you don’t need it, drop it like it’s hot.

After all, what do trees do in fall? They lose their leaves due to the simple reason that they do not need them anymore. They’ve made enough food to last them, and they know that they can easily grow more leaves if they need them. But for now, it is time to shed the extra weight and simply be.

Now, I’m not saying that evergreens are emotionally disturbed because they do not drop their leaves in winter. However, they are the victims of a certain Christian holiday and  are cut down shortly after this season. (Coincidence? I think not.) So, maybe the Oaks and the Black Walnuts of the world know something that the evergreens don’t? They at least know something that we (humans) forget.

You need to let things go when they no longer serve you. When things have run their course, you need to leave (leaf) them be. It will not help you to dwell on things–picking them back up, turning them over in your hands, even crunching them under your feet. You need to let them wing on the breeze, and you need to say goodbye when something or someone isn’t absolutely supporting you. Even if this act leaves you bare for a few months.

It’s okay to leave a good thing because it is no longer good. But always remember your roots.

Turning Aggression into Creative Expression

I had one of those days.

One of those days where nothing goes entirely right. And also one of those days where everything does not go especially wrong, either.

Yes. One of those days.

And I chose to deal with it in a terrible way. I vented and ranted and tried my best to blow off some steam by blowing up in people’s faces. (Not literally. Imagine what a mess that would be!)

So, I decided to break the cycle. Instead of destroying the things around me, I had to build myself back up. What you all probably don’t know is that my most natural means of expression is not a blog. It’s poetry. And I’ve been neglecting my art a lot lately. So much so that I’m going to need to get back to basics by writing some haikus.

Haikus, by nature, are supposed to be filled with serene images of nature. But haikus also have a rigid structure that has always conveyed to me a sense of restraint, thus mirroring anger itself.

They’re also fun because they will take you back to Kindergarten, making you count out all of the syllables on your fingers.

Try sticking one of these haikus in your pocket for one of those days and see if it makes you unclench your fists for just a moment. Trust me, the knot growing in your back will really appreciate it.

Pity Party

Throwing a pity

party for yourself is hard.

There’s no confetti.


I Can’t

Seriously? Did

you just–No, no. I can’t with

you at all right now.



Irate. I would rate

my anger on a 10 scale

but it’s off the charts.


Just Say It

You’re disappointed?

What about me? I just used

all my syllables.


Breathe Deeply

If I breathe deeply

enough maybe I’ll suck the

air out of the room.


100 Words for Snow

There are a lot of

words for being mad but I

cannot pick just one.


It’s Worth a Shot

Do you think if I

yell loud enough the man in

the moon will hear me?



I can’t take it. If

I hear one more person tell

me to cool it, I’ll–


Armed and Dangerous

I have two cookies

one for each hand and I’m not

afraid to use them.


Useless Tips

Breathe in. Breathe out. And

count to ten. And scream into

a pillow awhile.


Ah, that’s better. Happy Friday, everyone.

B.B. Gunn