Every Breath Birth Breath Breathing
I will keep this in first person singular, as that is the only proper method of emanating, and the listener or reader can absorb as much as his or her being allows; the rest simply gets deflected. I am sitting and writing on the keyboard so that I can free the breath from the interruption of it by talking aloud. As I sit, I begin to center myself by calling on all my parts to come and join me. I wish to be all in one place for this. I wish to stay with the body, bringing the mind and emotions back to the body so that I am in only a single place, congealed and remembered.
Words: Richard Lloyd
Photography © Lara Jameson
I notice the body, with its aches and discomforts and I tell it to relax, as I pose no danger to it. I use my peripheral vision to see the things in the room that are stationary, and I close my eyes for a moment. I slowly open them and see that nothing has moved, and that I am safe. I may do this again, closing and opening my eyes and realizing that these things are in the room but pose no threat to my body's safety, so I feel safe here.
Now, I wish to notice more deeply, my breathing. The air which strikes my nostrils is ever so slightly cooler than my nose, and I follow the breath into my lungs and body, relaxing more. I notice that my exhalations are warmer than the outside air and that exhaling pushes a puff of air a certain distance down the front of my body. I notice this distance, and I notice the depth of the inbreath, whether deep or shallow, I measure it in image realistically. I am not allowing my imagination to scatter or go away from this noticing.
As best I can, I remember that I was once an aquatic creature breathing embryonic fluid my mother's womb. That was a place of great freedom. I could hear sounds, taste, and smell my mother's fluid of the womb and I was less subject to gravity. It is as if I were in heaven.
Then her water broke, the Great Flood of yore, I was squeezed and had to make my way out lest I be crushed. I have been taken from heaven and pushed into hell. It happened. I have no doubt. And when my crown showed, and my cheekbones came out the rest of me just slid out, lubricated by the mucosa of the placental sac. I was taken by my ankles and held upside down, slapped on my ass, which was a large shock. I had never been hit before, and so I cried, and exhaled the fluid in my lungs all the while being struck again, by the shock of the air rushing in and turning me from aquatic creature to an air breathing one. Every new inhalation is redolent of the first breath-shock, only after I got used to it did I finally stop feeling it.
I want to remember that shock as deeply as I can on every inhalation, and submit and surrender to it, which is my dying of that moment. With it and each new breath I pull myself into the future, and with each breath I pass the past behind me. It has become very subtle now, and sometimes the inhalation stops on its own and I let it. It is then a time with which to ponder. Why am I here? Who is here? That organism that contains me. The urge to again breath comes, but from where? I let it breathe me and remain, until I leave the exercise and move into the currents of my ordinary life. I have been in a place of different time, but must return to the tasks which await me.