For every inhale there is an exhale: we start life one inhale ahead; the score evens later. For every contraction of our hearts there is a relaxation. Every time. And what happens at the turn around between inhale and exhale? What moves at that fulcrum? I paid attention to that moment today. My body, as it turns from exhale to inhale, has a moment of delight, anticipation, newness, noticing. It has been doing this for every breath since that first one. I think the first came with quite a huge bit of noticing, considering I was going from life as a fish to life on land in one breath–think of that miracle, and no wonder evolution considers the same process for all of life. From the brackish bog to the beach. It was not a big leap to imagine we came about that way since, in fact, each of us comes about exactly that way. We are created in a salty ocean and spend nine months slowly rising to break the surface for a huge, (literally) unbelievable, gasping breath. And ever since then until the last, evening exhale it is, as my friend Randall Wirth once beautifully wrote, breath: the and of life.
And at that wondrous moment between the ex and in, there is this little moment of just-before-the-paper-comes-off-at-Christmas that I never knew about until today when Marcia Howton (www.drhowton.com) led a group of us to that very spot. My body has been, in a secretly aware way, rocking in between the inhale and the exhale for 45 years, waiting for me.
How can I prove that? I can’t, but I felt it. It is like this: the pie of my experience is all around me, but the part I can prove with my eyes makes up only about 160 degrees, less than half. I experience aspects of the world all around me every moment even though I can ”prove” less than half of that with what I see. (And it doesn’t matter because it doesn’t need proving: if you get this, proof does not matter, if you don’t get this, then proof is not likely to be convincing and the experience fades away as soon as you start looking at it. Anyway.
I met myself at this moment. I met something subtle and amazing going on inside me (and outside me since breath takes me in and out-side myself each time). I will leave you with this, which has moved me deeply, many times, as I wake up to…me:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
(TS Eliot, Little Gidding)