Exhaling - sometimes we forget.
I think it was in one copy I received, by accident or fate, of World Pulse one day where I found recipes for spiritual baths. It could have been another magazine. Right now, all I remember were bath concoctions to cleanse the spirit or evoke loveliness. I closed my eyes and thought of a hotspring surrounded by moss and a steaming bath under a blanket of stars. The scents of sandalwood and lavender lingering on a mild cool breeze.
My brother had nowhere to live two weeks ago. I haven't lived with anyone for over a year. My last relationship left me in deep need of quiet reflection, solitude, and the space for me to be with myself. My brother is still finding his footing, learning who he is, and trying to take care of himself. He continues to express his gratitude for being in my home, even though I wake him up listening to Joni Mitchell or Moby, and have creosote in bottles or vases throughout the house. He is getting used to the scents of sage and patchouli and doesn't think the leafy foods I eat are weird anymore.
Last night he was complaining of a backache and I told him to take a bath with epson salt and clove oil or ginger. He hugged me and said, "I love being here. I haven't taken a bath in such a long time, I can't even remember."
So many times throughout the past few weeks I have been thinking of the final two weeks of class, the first article to write, the first seven minutes of an important interview that the recorder wasn't even working for, how everything will be paid for, how we'll be fed...and for some reason all it took was his hug to make me exhale as though I had not even been allowing myself to breathe.
Some of his friends have come in and out of my home since he has been with me and I hear something repetitive from each of them. Somehow they think I am living a dream by living alone and having my own quiet space. I know I would be seen so differently in other places - single woman, no interest in marriage or kids, working to improve the world one poem at a time. One of his friends is a single mother who exhales deeply each time she walks past my doorstep. I told her she can have this too, she can focus on school and understand herself and provide a little space of comfort and safety for herself and her children. I'm going to help her understand the financial and academic aspects of going to college this week.
We are all examples. With every breath. Sometimes all a person may need is to be heard, or to walk into a space that feels safe and to know they want and deserve the same. Every detail of our lives is inspiring. The articles and poems I write...the workshops and classes I teach...it is not these small glimpses that can be empowering - but the detail in every moment of every day and the intention behind the breath and each step.