Along with all the good and exciting discoveries these days on Mt. Faith, we’re also going through a difficult patch due to a personal happenstance not of our making, but nevertheless hard to put to rest. And so, out of the blue I suddenly find myself “holding my breath”. Or telling myself something preposterous on the surface, like “I can’t GET my breath”, as if it had mysteriously fled.
It makes me remember doing just that when Noelle pushed off on her two-wheeler for the first time. Or the doctor came out of surgery to report on T.M.’s cancer procedure. Or I took the dare at Arrowbear Music Camp and mincingly crept across the chasm. Undoubtedly I could dredge up memories and then some. We all do it. We stop breathing there for a time as we wait for the last minute count in a presidential election, or invoke an act of will for the outfielder to catch the ball – or not – or force one’s self not to cry out in alarm as the film’s protagonist opens the cellar door.
There’s a reason why the whole science of the breath is so much a part of all the spiritual and religious traditions, and why we’re taught to inhale and exhale with such precision and intent in meditation, and even why the very oxygenation of the blood leads to physical health. God himself, we are told, started life on earth by breathing into the very nostrils of his own creation.
I think about these issues especially because of my sister/cousin Maryanne who now needs help with this whole complex and convoluted process. Here, I’m worrying about “catching my breath” and she is consigned to exceptional measures. It’s not fair. And it’s very important. On multiple levels.
My most profound experiences with the breathing process came first with Grandma Marie after she softly whispered “that’s enough now” and I stayed at her hospital bed, holding her hand while I deliberately breathed in and out in what I thought might be some small measure of light and assurance. The second was similar, but I had more experience by then in the whole meditative process, and I consciously breathed as I held a focus for the passing of my son.
On a lighter note, here at Mt. Faith we had a serendipitous discovery this week when T.M. began to uncover the sorry state of the old added-on three season porch.
As he ripped into the rotted wood, what was first to be a remodel which would include a half storage area / half take-off-your-boots-and-scarfs-before-entering sit-down, became a new open old-fashioned porch. And we may have second thoughts in the winter when the snow is blowing in from the west, and we may have lost a serviceable and practical entry, but seeing as there were previously two closed off living room windows against the add-on, when the light suddenly flooded into the interior, the results were immediate and remarkable. And, honestly, the old house breathed.