Thursday, August 12, 2010


Everything needs it: bone, muscles, and even,
while it calls the earth its home, the soul.
So the merciful, noisy machine

stands in our house working away in its
lung-like voice. I hear it as I kneel
before the fire, stirring with a

stick of iron, letting the logs
lie more loosely. You, in the upstairs room,
are in your usual position, leaning on your

right shoulder which aches
all day. You are breathing
patiently; it is a

beautiful sound. It is
your life, which is so close
to my own that I would not know

where to drop the knife of
separation. And what does this have to do
with love, except

everything? Now the fire rises
and offers a dozen, singing, deep-red
roses of flame. Then it settles

to quietude, or maybe gratitude, as it feeds
as we all do, as we must, upon the invisible gift:
our purest, sweet necessity: the air.

Oh my gosh, my last posting was about responding to a desperate need for union, or perhaps better said a plea for awareness of the already existing beloved union. My solution was to breathe, to share our lives with this next breath, the only gift we truly have to give and to receive. Then Mary writes this to my heart. Taking in one poem every day I am struck by the story I am retelling of our lives here on this planet. Mary's poems speak to me like a book of Rumi poems, like a book of Koans, like the Bible, like the Talmud, like the Quran, like an African chant, like a Hopi dance., and like a woodpecker's tapping on a tree. All these scriptures knock on the soul's door so that we may open to awareness, and if we just focus with intent, we can retell the stories of our lives based on love, and not on domination and power over others. It doesn't really matter what we choose to help guide us, especially since it seems that guides choose us. And Mary, you have chosen me so that I may with joy greet the sun's rising knowing that the air I take in and that becomes part of my body's molecules comes from the same air you have taken in, that the dinosaurs snorted out, and that Jesus cried. To breathe is to love our neighbors as ourselves.

What does breathing mean to you?


  1. Much as we need the oxygen, we can't take it pure for very long.
    We need the filler.
    80% of air is nitrogen.
    Pure oxygen would soon burn up our lungs.
    Nitrogen doesn't do much, but it nicely spreads out that important oxygen so we can better handle it.
    The nitrogen of life -- the dark night-rogen -- that respites us from the bright light, helps us bear it --
    Let us not overlook life's "filler" -- which, by being useless, is so very useful.

    From Meredith Garmon

  2. I have just had it proven to me that there are some things one cannot do without sufficient oxygen. Oxygen allows our brain to function in a mannor that allows us to understand the world around us and to be able to interact with it and others. While I was without enough oxygen I made no sense to others around me and what I thought was happening was like a bad dream. Comparing notes on the experience with my children I realize it wasn't a dream as many snippets of what they relate and what I thought was happening were the same. But, what a difference in interpretation and how it fit in with the rest of the world. When I could no longer swallow or talk, Jacquie's doctor looked for the problem. It seems that all the secreations had settled and hardened blocking everything. She could not even see the vocal chords. The mess could not be suctioned out so she had to dig it out. With a fresh breath of air containing the important oxygen and filler nitrogen, I began to come back to the world as seen by everyone else.

    Meridith is so right. Too much oxygen does not sustain us. I was one of the orignal babies that survived by using the first incubator. My mother's doctor had heard that I needed handling and touching which he did while waiting for other mothers to deliver. Perhaps my lungs that are suseptible to germs and pneumonia are a result of being born before my lungs were fully developed. Doctors got carried away with saving babies by using oxygen. The down side was that the use of too much oxygen in incubators produced the next generation of babies that lived, but were blind. I feel thankful that I escaped that damage.

    As my energy returns I am more aware of my breathing. A pause for a few large breaths can return my energy level to continue to walk or be up for a longer peroid of time. I do feel an interconectedness with the rest of the world through breathing. I think this was known long long ago. When meditating and developing an awareness of breathing our minds can explore beyond our physical world into the spiritual world.