Posts Tagged ‘breath’

I had half an hour. An after-school errand took longer than expected and I would beat them home by about thirty minutes. I could empty the dishwasher or maybe fold the clothes that had been sitting in the dryer for the last two days. That would be practical.

I didn’t feel like being practical.

The sun was shining. I had the window of my car down just a crack. Spring had not yet arrived but it was close enough I was starting to imagine it. After months and months of winter I could finally see relief coming, just around the corner.

I was suddenly desperate to be outside. I needed to feel the air on my cheeks, the wind in my hair. Forget the dishwasher, I was going to use my thirty minutes for something much more productive.

I bolted upstairs as soon as my key turned in the lock. I quickly changed into workout pants and a hoodie, not caring if they were the pants that made my butt look big or if the hoodie had a pasta sauce stain on the front. I was almost frantic in my hurry, frantic to get outside, everywhere else suddenly seeming claustrophobic and stifling.

A quick stop for my sunglasses, ipod, shoes and I hit the front step at a jog. Then I stopped, breathing deeply, and the most incredible feeling of peace settled over me.

Feet on ground.”

So strange that those words would come into my head right at that moment.

Feet on ground.”

It took me a minute to place them and then I smiled.


Of course it would be Jann. She has always had the words when I could not find my own.

Feet on ground.”

The words so perfectly described the feeling of that moment. For so long I have been floundering, flailing, lost. There has been instability, uncertainty, unsteadiness. But in that instant it was gone. My feet were on the ground; planted firmly, steady, strong. All of the things I had feared would never be.

Heart in hand.

The next line of the song came to me as I started to walk, automatically turning down the street on my preferred route. I could feel a smile start to tickle the corners of my mouth in the same instant that tears began to form in my eyes.

Heart in hand.”

The lyrics are from one of my all-time favourite Jann Arden songs. I have probably listened to it hundreds of times, each time the words taking on a new meaning, somehow filing whatever cracks I had. I wonder what it’s like to know your words can heal. That at any moment something you created can change someone’s life; someone you have never met. I think that must be pretty amazing, for your words to add depth and meaning to someone’s world.

Heart in hand, facing forward, be yourself.”

And for the next twenty minutes I walked. I took deep breaths and inhaled the changing air. A little bit of winter and a little bit of spring. One foot in the past and one in the future.


And as I climbed the last hill that stood between me and my return home I felt a sob catch in my throat. But for the first time in so long it was not of sadness but rather of relief, understanding and hope.

Thank you for your words Jann, again and again and again.

Thank you.

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It’s January 13th and it’s approximately 14 degrees outside.  I live in Canada so that’s 14 degrees Celsius which, any way you count it, is warm for January.  It’s warm for about six months of the year where I live and it’s definitely warm for January.  The snow has all melted and there are kids outside riding their bikes up and down the street.  I’m sure they have no idea what’s going on either, only they spend less time contemplating and more time enjoying.

We were outside for a bit this morning, long enough to realize that it’s warm for January.  Back home to do all of the chores that only seem to get done on Sundays and to prepare for the coming week.  Each time I walk up and down the stairs to get something or put something away, I look out the window and am surprised by the sight of green grass where only days ago there was snow.  If I didn’t know better, I would think it was March.

A little while ago I took a break from the chores and sat down on the couch with my book and a cup of tea.  The book is the newest John Grisham, comforting in a predictable way.  Sometimes it’s nice to read a story that is, in fact, a story.  It moves quickly, there are a lot of people to keep track of, I feel like I’m learning something.  So often the books I choose (or the ones that choose me) end up being a lot of “inside ones head.”  I spend enough time in my own head, let alone tagging along for the ride in someone else’s, so the break is nice.

Suddenly I look up from the page.  I feel stifled, hot, closed in.  More than anything else I decide what I need to do right in that moment is open all of the windows.

It’s a good thing it’s warm for January.

I start upstairs first, throwing open the heavy curtains and cranking open the windows to feel the warm breeze coming in.  It brushes past my cheeks, stirs my hair on its journey through the rest of the house.  I feel lighter than I have in days. I imagine that breeze reaching the furthest corners of the house, pushing out all of the old, the stale, the stagnant, breathing new life.

Not my curtains…but you get the idea.
(Image: http://sweetwhisperdreams.blogspot.ca)

It’s been one of those weeks where, to the naked eye, nothing has changed but on the inside, deep inside, actually everything has changed. There have been hours spent under blankets, with comforters tucked up under chins, warding off chills. There has been too much thinking. Where one short week ago I thought I had all the answers, now, one short week later I realize I wasn’t even asking the right questions.

And after days of all that I’m so ready to take deep breaths, exhale out all of the old and replace it with some of that beautiful fresh air that is now pouring in my windows.

I know that soon the house will be cold.  The kids will come up from the basement looking for a snack and will question why all the windows are open.  Don’t I know it’s January and you’re not supposed to have the windows open in January?  If I’m still feeling energetic I may suggest we go for a walk. Or I may decide that’s too much for today, requiring too much discussion, too much debating, too much bribing. It will make me fondly remember the days when they were too small to have a say.  When I could just plop them down in the stroller whenever it was I felt like going somewhere. Long gone.

But for right now they continue to play and I have learned enough to just leave them alone.  My inquiries often seem to break into their imaginary worlds and the quiet play ends too soon.

So instead I sit here, at my desk, in front of an open window.  The breeze is blowing softly and the sheer curtains dance.  I can hear the sound of geese.  I wonder why they’re here, aren’t they supposed to be wintering somewhere warmer by now?  I’m sure they too are confused by 14 degrees today.  I hear their honks and wonder if they are discussing it as we are.  Saying 14 degrees?  That’s very warm for January.

Or maybe they’re just enjoying the fresh air.

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It’s been one of those days when I feel like I haven’t had a moment to take a breath. My mind racing with things that need to be done and my body frantically trying to keep pace.

Now finally I sit.

A few days off work to make the long weekend even longer. There are things to be done, plans already made, an anniversary to celebrate and family to see, but there will also be time to do nothing. Space in between the pre-set plans for spontaneity, maybe even laziness. A glass of wine on the deck, a meandering chat with a friend, a lazy stroll, holding hands, a few pages of a book, and maybe even a nap. Bliss.

I feel myself decompress, let go of my day, empty my mind, fill my lungs.

It’s the weekend.



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