I wrote this in my meditation journal early 11.21.15. Looking back it's quite prophetic. “
"Breath, in each, is the force that gives way to gratitude and grace and the reminder to come home from wherein’ you were and wherever you are going. Stay with that intimate gift of life and love that gives and receives endlessly while we carry on. Breath is home. Spaces between breaths are the soft, quiet divine silence that we return to and come from."
Yesterday, a huge tree limb covered my car, then knocked out my electricity leaving a live-hot wire sparking in the front walk way, and me without heat or light for sixteen hours.
Today I watched a beautiful tree sawed down to a stump like that in the book “The Giving Tree.” One of my favorite books from childhood, but now as an adult and mother it is a sad and heavy realist view of parenthood or care-taking and how often most people take that which they are given for granted still finding the audacity to beg the question: “What else can you spare?”
I’ve never been that way. Never. Maybe it’s because I read that book nightly for years or maybe some of us just end up landing here on this planet with a give mentality instead of a take persona. I’m strangely uncomfortable asking for help, or taking nearly anything. I have more guilt than should be humanly possible, and my aversion to owing anyone anything is categorically unhealthy. This I know, yet still, I continue in this awkward exchange of let me give but give me nothing. It’s rather unfair but I’m working on it.
On giving, and receiving and the approaching of Thanksgiving, I ponder our natural state of taking so many things for granted in such a blessed and abundant world. Sure, there is terror and hate and anger and mistreatment and lies and judgments and hypocrisy. Of course there is, most people take so much for granted that the mentality is so self-driven and we lost sight of our fellow humans and began to create others as threats. Threats to our comfort, success, popularity, love, etc.
I have been alone quite a lot lately. A weird thing has happened in that I notice my breath a lot more than lately. Not just because I can see it in the bitter cold or because it smells like coffee. I mean I am deeply aware of breath. Breath and life.
I ask you to consider taking five minutes maybe in the bath, shower, at your desk, on a walk or laying safely and warm with your children. Make yourself aware of the life force in constant symphony with you. Pay attention to the length and the depth of each breath you take and how in doing so you can be reminded of your own presence and all the millions of amazing filaments of light and energy that must do their part in the miracle of keeping you alive able to sit there observing this little secret.
There is an old saying: “Life doesn’t come with a handbook.”
Oh I beg to differ. Perhaps we want Ikea-like instructions or a booklet with clear directives given any and every possible scenario that may arise? I know I would have like a mentor and constant youtube tutorial for the early days and months of motherhood with a newborn.
I am starting to believe that we indeed DO have a handbook. A comprehensive answer to all that is and will be and was…and how to handle them. Ready?
Breathe IN. Breathe OUT.
That’s it. It seems impossible to be that simple, but I think it is.
Breathing is what constitutes the beginning, end, danger, or fear of our lives as we know them. Breathing is our gage…it quickens in fear and shock or sadness, and slows with relaxation, but we notice not unless in one of those states?
I think the manual of life is to follow the instructions of your breathe. Keep going, stay rhythmic, and before giving (air) or taking (air) to sustain, we must pause and be still.
Go back to noticing your inhalations and exhalations and you’ll feel and hear that your lungs naturally stop at the base of an exhalation and also still right before beginning a new intake. That to me, is great advice.
We are in constant states of giving and taking, but first before either act we must be present, pause, still ourselves and continue. That simple way might very well be the best instruction guidebook you have. It is within you. It has always been with you, working for you, never fighting you or blaming or asking for recognition.
I breathe in life and exhale life. If I’m lucky, I’ll learn better how to slow down, pause to notice that the spaces in between breaths is the sacred, silent witnessing space of all existence.
Everything that is started from the vast nothingness, and so too does the transitions of life pass through such stages of stillness and empty. It is not a lack, or absence of breath, to me, it is the calm, the quiet and the cure for all things and feelings to still oneself, take pause and begin again…over and over in big ways and small.
Give, be still in yourself, take, be still in yourself, give, pause, take, pause….
So simple it feels too complicated to understand.
But I’ll try for the sake of growing, gaining knowledge and giving back.
****In honor of the Big Bradford Pear Tree that is no more. ****
"Shimmer with a smile. Life is hard, bloom anyway."