“If you are exhausted about your heart’s obsession with the fixed past and your mind’s focus on the uncertain future

Your lungs are the perfect place for you

There is no yesterday in your lungs

There is no tomorrow there either

There is only now

There is only inhale

There is only exhale

There is only this moment

There is only breath

And in that breath

You can rest while your

Heart and head work

Their relationship out.”

This is an excerpt from the poem Breathe by John Roedel. The full version of the passage landed in my inbox at 11:50 am today. My dear friend and serenity sister sent it to our recovery community group – a reflection for the afternoon meeting. Once again, I felt the familiar undertow of ethereal messaging.

Yesterday I sat cross legged on my purple yoga mat, a votive candle reflecting a dancing flame against the glass sided bowl perched on the floor in front of me, my mind clear and empty, hearing only the instructor’s breath count and my own air entering and leaving my lungs. At the conclusion of a series of breathing exercises, she gently encouraged us to “stay inward” as we held our breath. During this time I stared deeply behind my closed eyelids, watching blue and yellow renderings float across the darkness. Our yogi said the yellow represented my solar plexus chakra, the blue/indigo my third eye. I wasn’t surprised. The solar plexus is the centre of my power. The third eye energizes my insight and intuition. A day of yoga, meditation and breathwork was what I needed to reset the energy flow.  Instructed to set an intention for the day, mine was to unblock my creative powers.

Several times over the past two weeks I have admitted feeling overwhelmed with schedules, activities and busyness – that I miss the simplicity and imposed limitations of the pandemic. Then it was easy to maintain home based routines, creative habits, and try new recipes as I had time and few obligations. I felt deeply secure in my home and tightly controlled community. Limited options meant few choices and even less debate. My dark side of envy and comparison was at rest. I was rarely “shoulding” on myself.

The world unlocked gradually. My calendar and commitments – largely self inflicted – ebbed and flowed during the re-opening. Sometime during the spring months, the current strengthened and the universe made itself fully available. The immeasurable mania to say yes, be included, miss nothing, try everything, go all in . . . ruled my psyche. I experienced a simmering anxiety when I found myself in rare empty time and space. It’s a well-known fear; slow down, reflect, be still, be without stimulus. It was erased, almost as quickly as vaccines were discovered, only to reappear with the end of the worldwide pandemic.

I am sensing that my dis-ease may be rooted in the dearth of time for stillness and solitary reflection – the settling I require to access my creativity. As I busy myself with doing, participating, and being there, I sense a simmer of agitation as my mind wanders into story telling and painted landscapes. I pass by my journal and laptop, wanting to open them while I tell myself there isn’t enough time and I have nothing formulated. Yet here I sit, having approached the keyboard after a frenzy of on-line shopping for a crib for our grandbaby. It seems his resistance to sleep over the past weekend was due to discomfort in the brand-new portable crib. Desperate to ensure future visits, the sturdy wooden, permanent crib is ordered and will be delivered in 5 days. I am once again overtaken by the necessity to make everything perfect . . . so they will come.

I am blessed with bright and beautiful openness in our home. We have large windows, high ceilings and few walls. It hums with the voices of family and friends. The music travels throughout in uninterrupted waves. Conversations can be shared from the kitchen to the living room, and up to the loft so that no one is left out. My haven for privacy is the bedroom – tucked away on the north side of the house, down a hall with a door that closes. It is quiet and exudes safe, neutral energy.

As I unpack the experience of carving out a day for myself, there are several points of reflection to be considered. Reviewing my notes, I am reminded that through the practice of yoga I learn patience and the right use of my energy. Through breathwork and meditation I experience silence. I am taught that silence isn’t empty, rather it is full of answers.  I notice a persistent awareness of the necessity to create a sacred space in my home for meditation, spiritual pursuits, and creativity. I am facing my truth – that I have preened and protected these empty rooms upstairs “just in case”.

The shift within is palpable – I am claiming the small blue bedroom with the picture on the wall of the 1967 Maple Leafs winning the Stanley Cup, as my sanctuary. My son readily agreed to donate his rarely used childhood room – declaring that turning it into my private Ashram sounded like a good idea.

Today, sitting on the down filled chaise, the soft chenille covered with a light plaid blanket, my journal, and open laptop, I am observing my space.  Atop the desk and chest of drawers lay the talismans of my creative seeking – a singing bowl, candles, healing crystals and stones, and boxes with meditation and writing prompt suggestions. A large plant stretching out to the south facing window gives a sense of natural privacy. My only distractions are the birds competing for space at our feeder, and the dogs breathing gently as they monitor the doorway and stairs for intruders. This is my space.