The Space Between the Breaths

19 Jan

One of the true miracles of my life occurred when Diane B., a friend of mine in high school asked if I could take her place baby-sitting for a family because an unexpected commitment came up. I did and soon became the family’s regular sitter. (I don’t remember how Diane felt about that…) It wasn’t long afterwards that the family began to look after me; they became my surrogate parents at a time when I needed a safe place to fall. 

Twenty-four years later, their daughter, that I took care of is now a mother. (It’s really surreal when the kids you babysat for start having kids and you haven’t). And all these years later, they still treat me like a family member, which is why I’ve been visiting them for the last number of days. But now the trip is over and I’m waiting to board a plane for home (God willing we won’t have an emergency landing in the Hudson). 

Endings and beginnings are a funny thing. There is this pregnant pause in-between them that can be both exhilarating and unnerving. The Buddhists call this the Bardo state, signifying the ending of one form and the beginning of another where you don’t really know what is going to occur next. Rilke called it the “rest between the notes”; yoga practitioners call it the space between the breaths. In many ways, it’s the essence of life and creativity in which things constantly transform. 

Whenever, you’ve been away from regular life (as in a vacation) there is this weird space as you leave the people and places you’ve been experiencing and start to transition back into the old life. Only the old life is now slightly altered – because you are – by the experience you’ve just had. Sure work and relationships catapult you right back into the swing of things from before but for just a moment, you are there suspended – floating in free form. I am there right at this moment. Wondering what is to be.

A number of people I know surf. I don’t except for body surfing which isn’t the same thing. But I do understand the cycle of waiting for a wave to slowly swell, swimming out in front of it until it builds momentum and then riding it as it crashes into an explosion of foam. I hope as I return home, I catch a good wave, carrying me along with ease and joy. Cowabunga.

Leave a Reply