Life and breath

Dear Silas,

I started crafting this reflection mere hours after I learned you’d been born. My heart was so full of all of the ways that I wanted to welcome you! I meant to follow that longing, to obey inspiration when it spoke and bring forth a blessing to match your new experience of life, but I let other things get in the way. I got sidetracked by tasks that seemed to be urgent but were really not so important. Maybe that’s something you can help me with.

I still remember the day I got the news. I was a few hours into my typical Friday when your mommy video-called me on FaceTime. The call went straight to my laptop and popped up in the middle of my email. Your momma didn’t say a word, but took a slow silent scan of the hospital room, spanned past her face, and then rested on you. You! Wrapped snug in blankets and pressed tight to her chest.

You had come into the world!

60659465_10156933662845991_7356740054141632512_o.jpgDirectly after “meeting” you, I went to my favorite yoga class, which is at noon every Friday. It’s a new-ish thing for me — yoga — a new favorite lens for looking at life. I thought of you throughout my practice, which I carried out with more joy and delight than perhaps ever before.

I typically spend half of a class adjusting my alignment and the other half trying to remember how to breathe. Really breathe. The way that you do. With your whole body and soul and no reservations.

It’s kind of amazing Silas, that you are born already knowing the path to transcendence. You inhale with your whole being. No one tells you to soften your stomach or take in more air. No one instructs you to relax your shoulders, loosen your jaw, or let your body go limp. You already know how. You cannot do otherwise.

Though you have been alive now for many months, shifting and kicking and becoming a person, you’ve only just entered the world. You’ve only just started to breathe on your own.

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It’s all about breathing, Silas. It all comes back to the breath.

Breath is one of our most basic and significant forms of expression. With it we expel huffs of anger, snorts of laughter, sighs of contentment, and moans of deep longing. We exhale groans of satisfaction, gasps of surprise, and murmurs of confusion. Breath is a measure of life and death, being and non-being. You breathe, therefore you are.

On Sunday, July 7th, Silas, you were baptized into the Christian church. Baptism is a sacred and interesting sacrament to which different people bring various unique and beautiful ideas, doctrines, interpretations, and meanings. Some Christians believe that baptism is the point at which the Spirit of God enters your being and begins to live in concert with your own distinct soul. In this way, it is sort of like you take your first breath all over again.

When the Spirit of Silas and the Spirit of Divine Love are in resonance with one another, this is when I believe you are most fully alive. It is the deep magical breath of being fully human.

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It’s funny, Silas, how tiny new babies — like you — can sometimes resemble more elderly humans. For this reason, your grandma used to refer to your dad as her “little old man.” Perhaps it’s a good reminder of the fact that we all enter this life with wisdom to offer. For as much as the adults you encounter will try to teach and train and guide you in the right way of living, we would miss something significant if we did not also look to learn from you, if we did not see you as a soul to discover instead of a person to form.

And so, little “Si-Guy” (or perhaps I ought to say “Sigh guy”), I am eager to roll out my mat at the foot of your bassinet and learn some good truths about life from you. I look forward to rocking you in my arms and lying on the couch with you held to my chest and hearing the sound of those unfettered breaths. In and out. In and out.

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