Day 71 - The Space Between Breaths
I’ve been experimenting with doing a breathing exercise I mentioned in a previous post: 18 breaths where the exhale is twice as long as the inhale. I do it when I am going to sleep and when I wake up, and I try to remember to do it during the day. It’s funny how easy it is to get distracted, how 18 can seem like such a big number when you realize that, yet again, you got distracted after number 4 or 5. Or 2. Or 1.
I have also noticed how thin and superficial my breathing is normally. It’s like my breathing is a skater, and it takes quick little runs between inhales and exhales, skating above the ice more than on it.
It’s more like a dream of a skater than the real thing.
It’s more like the idea of a breath than a real breath.
What if when you are born and you take your first breath your mother disappears? What if you learn to associate breath with loss? I thought about this, about how I could teach myself to feel safe with deep breathing.
One time in yoga class a long time ago the teacher talked about how life is one long breath—we inhale, we live, we exhale, we die. What if I imagined life this way, that I only got one inhale, one exhale? What if I drew a life with an inhale on one side, an exhale on the other, and a pair of cupped hands between? What would you want to hold in your hands? What would you want your life to look like in that cup of life?
I thought about that as I walked this morning, imagining that each inhale and exhale was a life time. Each breath became an event and time changed, become slower, more interesting.
I thought about what I would like to hold in my hands between these two breaths. I thought about words, things, people. I thought about my body; I thought about the world, and I decided I wanted to hold water. I thought about having a fluid body, a fluid life, a fluid spirit. I thought about roots, the smell of dirt in the rain, so I added earth to my cupped hands. Then I thought about the spirit in my belly, the heat of love, and so I added fire. And I thought about wind, the promise of movement, and so I added air.
I held those things in the space between my inhale and my exhale and I felt good. I lived so many lives--inhale, space of awareness, exhale. I noticed that by the end of the walk the pain I usually carry in the bowl of my pelvis was gone.
When I came home, I changed my blog. I love taking photographs even more than I love writing, and if I only have so much space between breaths, I want to focus on what means the most to me, and I want to find ways to make a living doing those things.
May we all live in the space of love and forgiveness.
See you tomorrow.