Proximity to Birth and Death
The baby's head has been born, there is a pause, waiting for the next contraction so that the body can be born and baby come fully into this world. I encourage Dad to catch his baby. There is just Mum, Dad and I present. The moment comes and baby slips into Dad's hands, Dad unravels the cord from around the baby's neck, Mum takes her daughter into her arms and I sink into the sacred, serene and sublime. Precious moments honouring the new life that had entered the world.
The following morning, I am sitting in the colourful caravan of a deceased friend, his body having been beautifully tended, lay still on the floor. Only the wind breaks the silence, adding music to the stillness. I sit alone in quiet and reverence respecting the life that was, knowing that my time to pass from this life will also come. Sitting in presence and contemplating the full life he lead encourages me to make the most of my precious and short duration.
Later that week after his funeral, my friend and dance teacher used the words "the difference is in the breath". The difference is full aliveness. As I danced that night, I was able to give my presence and breath to the dance and indeed to life. There is the beginning of life, the middle and the end. Right now, I am in the middle and feel inspired to dance with all of my beingness.
We can opt in or opt out of life, make conscious choices or simply drift along. Viktor Frank (Auschwitz survivor) stated that “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” There is always a choice and the possibility to choose that which is in alignment with love and living.
Opting fully in to life doesn't necessarily mean bright lights and excitement, sometimes I am most fully in life when in nature or listening to gentle music. It's not easy as the mind likes to take me to other places, yet there is the constant opportunity with each breath to come back to the present moment.
I am part of the pulse of life, the breath is within and all around us - in the dance, in nature, a tree, a child playing, in intimacy, the touch of a partner, all the things that move us deep inside. Life has intensified on account of the proximity of birth and death and the affirmation of the fragile miracle that life is. And so I ask the question "How can I live my best life and live it fully?"
The next breath something other
all can change with a breath
Transition is constant
With a pause in between
No two are ever the same,
though amidst the variation,
the deep and the shallow, the long and the quick
a consistency forms a music
a background rhythm to our lives
The breath accompanies us through it all
The pain, the joy, the ache,
The prayer, the dance, the hurt,
The next step, the ecstasy,
The depth, the high, the low,
The magic, the flow, on the go,
in stillness, and in everything we know
Then the pause, the space in between
A time to choose how to be
We had our first
We will have our last
Let's savour the ones in between
With deep peace and love to you, Fiona
Some previous festive articles that you may enjoy...
Presence - it's the best gift of all
The Greatest Festive Gift you can give
What do you want for Christmas
How to best serve the world?
Here is a guided Whole Body Breathing Meditation by Tara Brach as an aid to tuning into our breath and bringing awareness to it and the present moment.