When each breath is all you got.

Morning slips quietly into view. Night eases its hold on the light. Morning breaks free. Darkness recedes.

I lay in bed and think about waking up. A part of me wants to stay here under my covers and keep myself locked in the safety of sleep. Keep myself holding onto the veil of darkness that separates me from all that is happening in the world right now.

I hear the birds calling outside my window.

I roll over onto my side, reach for my phone and check the time.

Beaumont the Sheepadoodle, attuned to the slightest stirring from the bedroom, waddles in, stands at the door momentarily, eyes the two of us in bed. He moves away from the door, comes around the end to my side, nudges my hand where it lies on top of the covers.

He is persistent.

I get up, take him outside, a wrap thrown carelessly over my nightgown. It is early yet. No one will see me.

Back in the house, Beau gives me a doe-eyed look, heads down the hallway and enters the bedroom again, this time to climb up on the bed and curl up. He will sleep for a couple more hours.

I cannot.

Morning has broken. Day has begun.

I check in with myself.

I feel restless today. Edgy almost.

There are tears waiting to be shed. Feelings wanting to be felt.

I want to ignore them all.

I want to go back to bed, slide beneath the covers and curl up into a ball and fall back to sleep until all of this is over. Like Sleeping Beauty. I want to let the world spin around me as I lay in blissful slumber, oblivious to the discord and disruption spinning around the world.

I make my latte.

Turn on my music.

Sit down at my desk.

Morning meditation beckons. I resist.

I know it is an act of teenage defiance. I know it does not make sense.

I tell myself it does.

And then, I smile at myself. At my wilful disregard of the things I know will soothe my edges, quieten my unsettled nature.

I pull out my yoga mat.

I lie down on it, my body pressed into the floor, my knees up to lessen the strain on my back.

I place my right hand on my heartspace, my left on my belly. I close my eyes. Breathe. In. Out. In. Out. Breathe.

Disruptive thoughts dart in and out of my mind. Clouds flirting with the sky.

I keep breathing.

‘What if’s’ clamber for attention.

Blue sky. Blue sky. I whisper the phrase again and again as if its incantation can will my mind into submission.

The ‘What if’s’ grow in intensity. “Look at me! Look at me!”

The urge to look is strong. I tell myself to ignore their presence. I cannot. I glance furtively at their statements of doom and gloom.

There is so much anger and fear, confusion and angst in their presence.

I close my eyes tightly. The pull of their frenzy heightens.

I think about giving in.

There is no submitting to chaos, my heart whispers.

My mind wants to tell a different story.

Avoid it all, it hisses with sibilant passion! It’s wise enough to know yelling won’t get my attention.

Avoidance strengthens fear, my heart lovingly responds. There is only acceptance. Accept what is.

I want to change the channel. To turn the dial and flip through the stations like I’m tuning an old time radio searching for a song I want to hear.

Simon and Garfunkel pluck their guitar strings. Gimme some ‘Sounds of Silence’ I beg.

Yes. that’s it my unquiet mind asserts. Silence.

“You can’t find silence in the constant cacophony of your thinking your way into or out of it Louise”, my heart whispers. Lovingly. But I think I detect a note of frustration tinting the edges of its words like night bruising the sky purple and indigo hues at dusk.

The noise inside my brain picks at the thin thread of inner discord it senses in my critical thinking of my heart. The heart only knows Love, the voice of inner wisdom whispers. There is only Love.

Love! Bah! Humbug! cries the critter. You’re wasting your time meditating your way through these days. You gotta do something!

I can feel the teenager jumping to attention. “Hell ya’!” she cries in gleeful accord. Hands on hips. Chin thrust forward. “Do something!”

I am I whisper, tentatively. I am breathing.

The floor is hard beneath my body.

My hands rise and fall with each inhalation into my body, each exhalation out.

Breathe in Love. Exhale fear.
Breathe in Love. Exhale fear.

Morning has broken. Day is begun.

I am breathing my way into the silence. It is not a smooth ride.

But for this moment right now, it is enough.

For this day, right now, it’s what I got.

I give my all into my breath and my breath takes over my all.

Breathing easily now, I fall with grace into the beauty of this moment right now, where my breath sustains me in loving kindness.










11 thoughts on “When each breath is all you got.

  1. Pingback: When each breath is all you got – Poetic Justice

  2. I can not seem to master quieting my mind. It’s that multi tasking auto pilot thing — learnt from years in a multi tasking environment. Auto pilot breathing even when I focus on breathing my brain has no stillness

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know that feeling Bernie. Working in a homeless shelter, I often found stilling my mind felt like I was constantly chasing the end of a rainbow.

      What I do find helps for me sometimes is to count my breaths backwards — for example down from 50, each inhalation/exhalation counting as one breath.

      by the time I get to 1 I can feel myself being present in the moment. On the way down, thoughts do interrupt my quietness. That’s okay. I just keep breathing and counting my breaths through them.

      My theory is – because our society is so goal driven, the goal of reaching one is much more difficult to ‘break’ than if I were to count up to 50.

      Somedays, I’ll count down to 1, back up to 50, and back again to 1 and up to 50 again and so on….

      I have meditated for years and still struggle some days to ‘allow’ the stillness in my mind to be where I’m at.


      Liked by 1 person

  3. You are quite right- this day, this moment is all we have. And if we have to do it all again tomorrow- breathing our way back out of fear and into stillness, then so be it. That is okay too! Thanks for sharing this lovely piece Louise.

    Liked by 1 person

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