take into the air
my quiet breath…
take into the air
my quiet breath…
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
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”
Maybe poems are made of breath,
the way water, cajoled to boil,
This is my soul, freed.
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
“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.
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
This is what I want.
I want to keep the past like a pearl on my tongue,
to inherit the salt in my skin. I want to learn how horizon can curve
back into itself so I can say what ocean says of wreckage: Dive into
my chest, stay as long as you can breathe, chart this hull of bones.
In addition to reminding you to stand and walk throughout the day, watchOS 3 will also prompt Apple Watch users to take a minute to relax, focus and meditate with a new app dubbed “Breathe.”
When a Breathe notification pops up, users can either begin a session or choose to snooze it. A dedicated Breathe app on the app screen — as well as a new Breathe complication that can be added to watch faces — also allow users to start a session whenever they choose.
Once users begin, the app informs them to “be still and bring attention to your breath.” A series of circles on the Apple Watch display gradually expand, accompanied by taptic feedback on the wrist, letting the user know to slowly inhale.
All afternoon I have been walking over the dunes, hurrying from one thick raft of the wrinkled, salt roses to another, leaning down close to their dark or pale petals, red as blood or white as snow. And now I am beginning to breathe slowly and evenly – the way a hunted animal breathes, finally, when it has galloped and galloped – when it is wrung dry, but, at last, is far away, so the panic begins to drain from the chest, from the wonderful legs, and the exhausted mind.
Oh sweetness pure and simple, may I join you?
I lie down next to them, on the sand. But to tell
about what happens next, truly I need help.
Will somebody or something please start to sing?