Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Early afternoon at home and in bed with Cadence, listening to the soundtrack of countless naptimes and bedtimes. Big Star...Jeff Tweedy...Sam Beam...Rachel Goswell...And as is usually the case, even an hyperenergetic preschooler like Cadence is no match for the magically sleepy rhythm of Mojave 3's "Love Songs On the Radio." And now I listen to her breathe, so perfectly true to her name, in and out, in and out. And just for a moment, I join in. Breathing in, I calm myself. Breathing out, I smile. Breathing in, I calm myself. Breathing out, I smile.

Breathe in red fur; Smile

My Dependent Co-Arising quest moved to Ohio as I visited my family, including my two boys (dogs) Akira and Shiro.

Sensory Recall

When I put my face against my dog’s,

I smell dirt and grass and whatever he last rolled in.

When he kisses my lips, a coppery after-taste
remains as a reminder.

It is not so much that I like the pungent outdoor odor

or the sharp metallic taste

as that I love my dog

and those smells and that taste are associated with him,

so that some of the love for the being

is transferred onto the attributes.

Then, each smell, each taste, apart from the being,
is attached to a memory of a face pressed against mine—

It may hit me miles away.

A cool fall breeze reminding me of the scent
of my dog returning indoors from wrestling
with a pile of orange leaves.

This is what I felt when I drank Guinness after you—

in tasting what your mouth savored,

I tasted you.

When I drink Guinness,

it is because I want

to kiss you.

In your always present absence

it is my dog who kisses my face.

But just for a second, I imagine

there is a smell of spiced leather

and a taste

of Guinness.


breathe in.....
mornings that come too early
movies on the french revolution
lazy lunch hours
psychological disorders
intimate conversations
honest confrontations
warm hours
trappist ales
the feeling of being at home
with foreign entities, with old friends

breathe out, breathe out....
i can't help but smile.
Breathing in an empty room, counting to six, forgetting what to think about, zoning out, staring, zoning, zoning, peace.

Sweet Breath I Was Only Joking

My Lungs
Today, while eating lunch, I made a concerted effort to understand what it was I had before me. I thought of the land, the hands, the movement; I thought of everything that preceded the food before me. I considered its texture, the warmth, the nourishment. I breathed out... breathed in. It felt great.

before smile

before smile_

_ seeing a baby with a foreign heart. 

Breathe... Breathe... Breathe...

With today's onslaught of inclement weather.  With today's uprooting of the familiar, the comfortable, the secure.  With a heart both sure and unsure, relieved and hesitant.  With all of these factors fluctuating about in my head and heart and mind:  What a great reminder today's dependent co-arising was and is.  

Breathing in, I calm myself.  Breathing out, I smile.

To breathe as such is to fall into place with things as they are.  It fosters a gradual shift in focus away from our usual "I" as it imagines itself.  The "I" that believes itself alone in its experience, alone in its fight for preservation, for happiness, security, and some sense of meaning.  The "I" in infinite divorce from the world, from others, and ultimately, ironically, itself.  To breathe mindfully fosters a shift toward a holistic "I", an "I" living in mutual relationship with the world, with the cool air, the rustling leaves, the rain still pit-patting our windowpanes.  It is one way we can foster knowledge of our dependent co-arising with the micro- and macro-worlds that weave about us, contiguously, from one moment to the next.  

an art like everything else

Trouble breathing lately.


Cold weather season, allergic-asthma time of year, plus more anxiety than usual. This practice takes work: to exhale worry (over things I can't control) & inhale calm.


Last night I went with my dad and bro to a college football game in Dekalb, Illinois, and it was so outside the realm of usual weeknight goings-on (and so cold) that I took time to notice to my breath [breath pictured].


Deep breaths take work. Trying not to return to my default settings takes work! In any case, the breaths looked nice floating out over Huskie Stadium.


Also breathing easier last night: the Central Michigan football team, having beat Northern Illinois 33-30 in overtime.


I tried again to make a time set aside to breathe, but I just didn't find it - I didn't make it.  But I breathed all day - and remembered that this was what I was supposed to be doing - and felt such success.  I'm taking that with me.  

I saw other people breathing all day too, and I felt a connection.  Also, since I don't really know who the other people are who are co-arising with me, I imagined that these people were all part of a conspiracy of possibility.  We smiled at each other all day.  I remember:

the Bus
the Train
my Bike
the Concert
my Husband

Breathing in I calm myself, Breathing out, I smile.

Breathing in, I acknowledge the gift of oxygen being sent to my brain and conscious thoughts that it produces.  Breathing out I smile.  My life is so rich.