Friday, January 27, 2012

The Space Between the Breaths

water in a cenote, Tulum, Mexico
I'm teaching a creative writing workshop today as part of Urban's "Winter Festival"—a day when we step away from our usual classroom practices to take part other activities. This year's theme is "Treat Yourself." Since we don't have a dedicated creative writing class at Urban, just having time to write about anything non-academic is treat enough for many students. I do want to have some structure for students who may not have an ongoing writing project. So we're writing about places and things we think of as treats.

I'm thinking right now of an idea that a yoga teacher (probably Abby) mentioned years ago, about paying attention to the space in between the breaths. When you're in the middle of an asana class, it's easy to focus only on the movement and the inhale and exhale. But there is a sweet moment, between the release of the exhale and the fullness of the inhale, that is the space between the breaths. Too often we fail to notice that space. Those brief pauses between one thing and the next are crucial, however. An inhale is not an exhale.

I think about the space between the breaths often these days—I long for more spaces. And more breaths! I want a space between coming in the door from work and picking up both children who want to be picked up and carried. I want more space between baby bedtime and starting the grading grind.

I could give myself more space. It's just a matter of remembering to stop and take a breath. Sometimes, the house is gloriously silent. I update my status on Facebook: "All the boys are napping. Ahhhh." Before the status update, before the laptop opens: there too is the space between the breaths.

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