Shallows Breathing

Tuesday 3 November 2009

You feel tonight like a tiny pebble. A tiny pebble on the sand. Surrounding you, ripples of water. Radiating out far beyond your vision. The golden ball has begun its dance underneath your feet into someone else's sunrise; yet in your mind, these ripples all have golden edges though the moon casts silver.

Grounded into this small space you occupy on this earth, feeling your smallness, it makes you vast. Always biggest when you are smallest, always fullest when you are empty handed. You are like one of those rippling waves in the ocean.

So often you feel like a chafing horse, sweating your flanks, chewing your bit. Eager for life, thirsty for it, so thirsty it's aching your bones, yearning for more of what your life is to grow into. Pregnant with the feel of that so that sometimes your back aches and your head droops and you don't believe it even though it's growing in your belly and heaving you down.

But tonight you sit grounded into the sand with the water rippling. No yearning can grip you for long with the gentle pull and push of the tide to bring you back to here. Deep down the very end of your spine, like the tail of a fish, outstretches from your body like red ripple roots, holding you fast to your seat on this chair in front of this computer writing these words spreading you out into the ocean.

You yearn but it is not - at least tonight - a frantic grasp for more, more more. It does come from a deep, deep thirst. Sometimes you grasp because of the gasp, because of the thirst encircled right in the centre of your bones. And anyway, the grasping is what you have learnt to do. From the fear.

But you go with the tide. You do not want to lurch out on your own onto the waves. You sit here in the shallows. You see the ripple curves on the sand underneath you. You do not need to grasp. The universe is contained in any of these grains of sand.

You mark in the darkness above you the position the sun will take when it arches itself up close to the centre of the sky tomorrow. The moon, recently full, its tidal pull on these waters surrounding you, its tidal pool in you, from within your own womb, drawing you forth by its rhythms. This brother moon, this sister sun. Where is there to go but here?

Where else shall we go? You alone have the words of life.

You have so many thoughts and ideas and feelings in your head and heart about things you would like to do - intentional community ideas, moving to the Dandenongs ideas, the ever-present delight of your writing practice and exploring the boundaries of your creativity, the desire for more friendships, for companionship, opening yourself up to the thought of opening yourself up to the idea of opening yourself up to an other (like a multi-faceted rather complex flower, after being so closed down).

And so you hope. So many of your attempts to move out into the wider ripples have fallen somewhat flat. But right now, tonight, you just are. You're here and you are. You feel it on the night air, a breath, so imperceptible that you wonder if you imagined it up out of your own head or heart. "Wait." The gentle Otherness about it, that ethereal beauty that is so close to you that you cannot always tell whether it is you or he/she. "Watch." You like these times best when it is a merging of the disctinctions between thee and thou. "Expectancy." The words are not necessary, at least now, and you put them down for a time, to be picked up tomorrow to lament or praise, to say "thank you" with, to place into juxtapositions on the paper, to be typed into a pay cheque.

But for now, now, the gentle ripple and really, now, this is all there is. Now is all there is.

There is nowhere to run ahead of things because there is nowhere but now. Not for you. Only for you Today. And you remember tonight what you sometimes forget, that you do not want to run ahead of things, not when you know the small experiences of delicious unfoldings, those little coincidences and promptings whispering approaches to take. You feel that a life lived loved by God begins taking on the quality of a story you are in, your own story, his/story, your story unpetaling. You do not want to make it grander than it is. You do not want to cast aside the lepers in yourself in favour of a Disney version. You do not want to cast aside anything and all you want to hold is what you can fit now, in your hands. Your hands open and flooding through your fingers, grains of sand.


  1. Utterly superb, Sue. What can I add to such exquisitely formed thoughts?

    All Is Well, and All Shall Be Well.


  2. Thanks, MB.

    (I deleted that last post comment it sounded elitist ;)

  3. Hmmm... or maybe they were struck dumb with the beauty of your writing, Sue, as I almost was. You never know;)

  4. you're on a roll with your writing dear susie q


  5. What MB said, absolutely! Couldn't add to that. Just stunning. Speechless am I, struck.

  6. Beautiful...just what I needed today.

  7. MB - it would be nice to think so, haha :)

    Kel - funny, it doesn't feel like a roll. I always feel distanced in some way from what is actually happening in my creative life. It's a strange phenomenon.

    Mike - thank you :)

    Erin - that's nice to know that I could write something that refreshed you :)

  8. Sue - I know exactly what you mean by feeling 'detached' from what you write. My best writing comes through me rather than from me, and yet it's coloured with my own uniqueness.

    Don't be shy of acknowledging that - the Glory of God is shown when we are fully, gloriously Ourselves. There's no real distinction between Creator and Created in my view.


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