How to Breathe When You Cannot Breathe

And then there are the days
where you cannot breathe
everything has turned to beauty
and iridescence.

you are a witness to this ordinary world.
This ordinary burning world
that lays itself out for you effortlessly,
in all its absurdity and sanctity,
in its sorrow and its light,
in its compassion and its terror.
All One. All Art.

And you are a Doorway today.
You are a Magic Theatre
where the heart plays
its paupers and its princesses
and pretends to fluff its lines.

Do you remember.
Do you remember.
His first day at school?
How he slipped through your fingers then?
So eager to leave, and did he know?

The frosted spider webs
clinging to the office bins
when you went out for a quick cigarette
and how they cracked you open
without warning and how they broke you open
without warning and how you couldn't
tell a soul.
You had a secret with the spiders.

And then mother's courage.
Her snow white hair tumbling out in your hands.
Her translucence in the last light.
Where you held her.
She had become see-through.

Some days.
Some days.
You try to form words but none will come.
You try to write but the pen won't move.
You try to speak but the silence silences.
Some days are see-through too.

It matters not how much money you have.
Your status in this world.
The strength of your immune system.
The number of weeks you have left.

It matters how completely you inhabit this life.
How deeply you let the days penetrate.
And crack you.
And make you beg
for more
for less
for more
for less
for more.

Don't be ashamed to break down today!
To weep. To laugh. To snort. To dribble.
To not know. To admit all your mistakes.
All your damn mistakes.
To begin again.
To be a puddle of nothing on the ground.
To be translucent and soft.

Awakening is not a hobby, friend.
It's a radical reframing of your entire existence.
It's the devastation of the dreamer.

And in the rubble,
such intensity.
Such ferocity.
Such light.

In the devastation
we can truly meet.
And knit with the spiders at dawn.
Giggle with the afternoon crows.
Play hide-and-seek
with the grown ups;
make them forget their melancholy,
if only for a moment.
Sing star-mantras with the wolves.

And live the days.
Somehow live through the days.
Where the beauty is just too relentless.
Where we haven't got the strength to stand.
Where we cannot breathe ourselves.

And so Love breathes us instead.
And warms us from the inside.
And fills us with new hope
under an iridescent sky.


~ Jeff Foster


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