January 26, 2017 by 25 Comments
December 19, 2016 by 24 Comments
Take a long walk.
Taste the air.
Keep your eyes open.
Try not to think.
Wet your lips with your tongue.
Tilt your head slightly into the wind.
Separate the sound of a single stone
cracking under your boot.
Feel the difference in weight
between a milkweed seed and a blackbird’s feather.
Stray from the road on your way home
until you are waist high in wet corn.
Approach your house from the back.
Whistle for the dog with the white mark
like a crescent moon on his chest.
Look your children in the eyes when they speak to you,
and raise your eyebrows, and smile when they smile.
Notice your son’s mouth curves up on one side,
and his fingers are long and squared-off at the tips like his father’s.
Search your daughter’s right heel for the star-shaped scar
where they tapped her for blood when she was two days new.
Drop everything when your husband gets that soft, glazed look
and presses his palm into the small of your back.
Think to yourself how like the spreading roots
of a silver maple
are his hands.
December 16, 2016 by 32 Comments
I knelt beside him. “Breathe, babe, breathe,” I said to him, little puffs accompanying each word…After running a bunch of tests they decided that John had…No heart attack, as they had first surmised. All of that was pretty memorable. But what I remember the most vividly is this: later that day, I was driving the rental car down some minor highway, the snow surrounding us still, a house here and there, both John and Maya asleep, and I felt a soaring sense of euphoria. Not a hallucinogenic euphoria. It was an earthly euphoria, one of the most grounded feelings, in fact, that I can ever remember having.
This is my person. This is my baby. They are both safe, sleeping. This is the snow. These are my strong hands on the steering wheel. This is my life. This is all there is. And it is so fragile. And beyond enough.
It is these moments that we fear, these moments that are inevitable, that put us in touch with a proportionate sense of gratitude for just how lucky we are to live on this earth for even one day.
I’m not claiming that’s any consolation for the suffering — particularly for those who don’t get the comparatively gentle perspective borne of close calls, but the brutal realization of disease and death. I’m just acutely aware of how much more accurately we weigh our own small lives when we touch into just how vast and inevitable loss really is. Time slows down. Our senses are empowered. The sound of a peacefully sleeping person that you love becomes what it really is, the most sacred sound in the entire universe.
Photo: Eric Rose
December 4, 2016 by 10 Comments
November 29, 2016 by 22 Comments
At night I open the window and ask
the moon to come and press its
face against mine.
Breathe into me.
~ Jalaluddin Rumi, excerpt from “Some Kiss We Want” in by Coleman Barks
November 17, 2016 by 4 Comments
Where is the thought that breathes?
Where is the breath that lifts us like the bird
that flies without thinking flight?
~ J’Lyn Chapman, from “A Poetics of Absolute Time and Space”
- Photo: via Mennyfox55. Poem: Thank you Memory’s Landscape
- Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
- Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”
October 20, 2016 by 13 Comments
September 18, 2016 by 19 Comments
Sixty-hour weeks were normal, hovering closer to eighty during the holidays. Since my job involved visiting parishioners in hospitals and nursing homes on top of a heavy administrative load, the to-do list was never done. More often, I simply abandoned it when I felt my mind begin to coast like a car out of gas. Walking outside of whatever building I had been in, I was often surprised by how warm the night was, or how cold.
I was so immersed in indoor human dramas that I regularly lost track of the seasons. When a fresh breeze lifted the hairs on my neck, I had to stop and think, Does that wind signal the end of spring or the beginning of autumn? What month is this? What year, for that matter? In the ICU, nurses wrote details like these on blackboards to help their dazed patients hang on to reality. Most days I could name the president of the United States, but my daily contact with creation had shrunk to the distance between my front door and the driveway. The rest of my life took place inside: inside the car, inside the church, inside my own head.
On the nights when Ed and I walked, I sometimes talked with my eyes fixed on the moving pavement for more than a mile before an owl’s cry or a chorus of cicadas brought me, literally, to my senses. Only then did I smell the honeysuckle that had been there all along or notice the ghostly blossoms on the magnolia trees that deepened the shadows on more than one front lawn. The effect was immediate, like a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart. All these earthly goods were medicine for what ailed me, evidence that the same God who had breathed the world into being was still breathing. There was so much life springing up all around me that the runoff alone was enough to revive me. When it did, I could not imagine why I had stayed away so long. Why did I seal myself off from all this freshness? On what grounds did I fast from the daily bread of birdsong and starlight?
Image Source: RNS
September 10, 2016 by 30 Comments
“My leg muscle badly broken, they thought I might lose it. They had to leave the fracture open for 10 days to avoid that process. That is the reason I started the cold water treatment. At first, I didn’t like it. The cold was agony, but slowly I got used to the feeling. There is no place for fear, no place for panic, no place for mistakes. Under the ice, you need total control of the place, the time, and to trust yourself completely. When you can do all that, you can find a different world, a world so peaceful, so beautiful, endless and desolate. With one breath, I am part of it.”
Finnish freediver Johanna Nordblad holds the world record for a 50-meter dive under ice. She discovered her love for the sport through cold-water treatment while recovering from a downhill biking accident that almost took her leg. British director and photographer Ian Derry captures her taking a plunge under the Arctic ice.
July 30, 2016 by 24 Comments
We have forgotten the virtue of sitting, watching observing. Nothing much happens. This is the way of nature. We breathe together, simply this. For long periods of time, the meadow is still. We watch. We wait. We wonder. Our eyes find a resting place. And then, the slightest of breezes moves the grass. It can be heard as a whisper of prayer.
— Terry Tempest Williams, Finding Beauty in a Broken World