Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Grace. Between the Breaths.

That tiny space between the inbreath and the outbreath is empty.  It is also full of possibilities.  It's the secret to finding God/enlightenment/nirvana here on Earth.

I've been putting my attention to these empty spaces.  I've been taking a lot more deep breaths lately as well.  For now- just breathe normally.  Notice that little pause—the space. 
Be aware of that space between.  It's actually a nice space to rest.  That small space calms the mind and the soul. The space is where God sits. The "I am".  So-Ham. Ham-sa.  I am using the space as sanctuary right now.  Life is not what I want it to be.  So I breathe.  It helps me manage my day without falling into a blubbering heap. It keeps me from screaming at the top of my lungs.  I don't throw things that maybe I would like to. 
Instead I breathe. 
Today feels like a good day to exhale.
Exhale after holding in too much stuff. A sigh of relief.  Getting rid of negativity and tension.  

A teaching mentor I once had taught us to look for grace in our day—the transition between one activity and another—for these were the likeliest moments to redirect behaviors and attitudes gone off-course.  She taught us to rest in the grace, to rely on them to carry the momentum into the new action without our having to carry it ourselves. She said that the transition was our own moment to breathe between the first activity and the next.

Understanding the power of the grace moments took me the longest time; after all, they were also the moments most likely to spin out of control, and that was what I usually experienced.  The same potential for chaos in a transition is what allows for the calm at the eye of the storm, depending on the expectation of the observer. Being afraid of the chaos, I struggled to see the peace possible in the grace moment.

In many ways, both large and small, I am in a grace moment in life.  I am eight weeks from my forty-fifth birthday—a midlife birthday. I am a long way from young but I’m hardly old.  My children are reaching their teens, no longer little girls needing a little girls’ mommy, but neither are they young adults needing the more adult mother-friend.  We have delegated out nearly all our schooling so I am not the researcher/curriculum writer/teacher I used to be, but neither do I find myself with hours of time on my hands to take up another career (I think mostly what I am is chauffeur).

The first twenty-some years of my life I was a fundamentalist evangelical Christian. The second twenty-some years I renounced the Christian part but remained a fundamentalist in every fear-based, reactionary move I made. As I step into the third twenty-some and what I hope is only the beginning of the second half of my life, I’ve renounced fundamentalism and reclaimed Christianity, but not in any form recognizable or acceptable to my evangelical past.  The Christian I am now has more in common with the Buddhist I toyed with becoming, although both Christians and Buddhists in my past would (and have) winced visibly at that comparison.  I am a heretic by the doctrinal statements of any organized religion but I have found a communication with the Divine that is beyond words and sincerely hope that I can continually reach new depths of that communication.

This summer I choose to rest in the eye of the storm.  I am in the space between the breaths.  In the grace place where I can grieve the hurts of the past and hope for the joys to come. I am not what I was nor yet become anything new.  I am nothing.  In the grace potential, I am everything. 

(Edit: the blog The Space Between the Breaths, from which I quoted the meditation above, has been removed from the Web.  It was written by Zangmo, who commented below but is no longer available through Blogger.)


  1. I love you!!!!

    Breathing deep and slow, SS

  2. You wrote:
    The second twenty-some years I renounced the Christian part but remained a fundamentalist in every fear-based, reactionary move I made.

    This accurately describes how so many people I know live their 'faith'.

    I’ve renounced fundamentalism and reclaimed Christianity, but not in any form recognizable or acceptable to my evangelical past.

    I love how each of our journeys are so unique. I used to say that I would be a "Christian Bhuddist" if there ever were such a thing. Living in the Bible Belt, the word "Christian" is really meaningless, so for a while I stopped using it. I have an affinity for resisting labels while at the same time craving identity. Strange, eh?

    May your days be blessed.

  3. ...Oh and I can't spell. *blush*

  4. "...I can't spell. *blush*" heehee. You're too funny.

    The meaninglessness of the term Christian. Isn't that a post in itself? There are probably as many definitions of what makes you a Christian as there are people who claim to be one. Trying to find a Christian identity for myself this last year that didn't include the list of Fundamentals from my childhood has been a lot of what my journey this last year is all about. And I could (and probably eventually will) write for days on it.

    My husband asks the deeper question. Not who? But why? Instead of who am I as a Christian, he wonders why I bother trying to force the religious box to accommodate me. If it is so hard to reconcile my understanding of the nature of spiritual reality and communication with the Divine with the current Christian paradigm, why don't I go back to free-lance heathenism where I was at least respected or flat-out agnosticism where he is? Poor guy... after all these years (18 this summer), he still doesn't get that I am compelled to reinvent the wheel!

    I think the need to identify as Christian is, for me anyway, about wanting to embrace ALL of who I am, my present and my past, and the traditions from which my family came. For better or worse, I am from the Christian culture. I think in Christian, any other language to describe my spirituality feels foreign. Some people can quite comfortably live as expatriots but I am not one of them. Wherever I am, I am forever and always American and Protestant and I want to integrate the best of that heritage into my current self.

  5. Thank you for posting some of my inhale/exhale blog....I just decided it was time to get serious about blogging/journaling again. I like your blog too- I am very amalgamated spiritually as well- Christian/Buddhist/Pagan/Hindu ... all lead to the same place in my mind- so I blend them & the recipe is always a bit different day to day.

  6. Zangmo,

    It was my pleasure to quote you here. You said what I wanted to hear, much more simply than if I'd been left to write it myself.

    Thanks for stopping by. I hope you come back soon.

  7. My... I think I should print this post out and hang it somewhere at eye level. I need to remind myself to stay in that space. I have spent so much time and energy in recent weeks trying to push ahead that I have completely forgotten to rest in the grace. Forgot that I was going to enjoy the potential, the not-being. Sigh. No better time than Now to start again.