One Breath A Minute

Photo Credit: Angie McMonigal Photography

Hibernation is a covert preparation for a more overt action.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

The piles are everywhere. Wet, sloppy snow is piled up outside my windows. Remnants of warmer days – patio furniture, the grill, a stray soccer ball – are all locked in place by shackles of white ice and crusty snow. Laundry is piled up in the basement, making mountains out of socks and towels and underwear. Chores are piled up on my to-do list, creating little mounds of errands and projects and minor household emergencies. Anxieties are piled up inside my head – little pockets of when’s and why’s and what-if’s.

One look at the snow and the laundry and the to-do list (not to mention the flashing anxieties in my mind), and all I want to do is crawl into a secret hidden cave like a big mama grizzly bear and hibernate for a while. I want to wrap myself up in a peaceful cocoon of contentment and forget about the when’s and why’s and what-if’s. I want to build myself a buoyant bubble of nonchalance and let the laundry and chores go undone.

I want to tuck my head down and wiggle my body into a nest of it’ll be okay’s. I want to quietly prepare for what might be and what could be and what will be by breathing in the sacred simplicity of now.

I want to wrap myself in a blanket of family, brushing elbows with each other and getting on each other’s nerves and loving each other unconditionally through it all. I want to snuggle in next to these precious people – my people – who let me know they care with their easy words and simple actions.

I want to find a kind of holy peace in honoring commitments, duties, and obligations – both to myself and to others, in the tedious jobs as well as the fulfilling compulsions. I want to find divine purpose in helping my younger son eat his morning oatmeal and making Valentine cards with my older son and greeting my husband enthusiastically at the door when he comes home at night.

I want to do all of this. I want to feel all of this. I want all of this to be enough. Because, really, when you get down to it, it is enough.

Yet, sometimes it is hard – so hard – to ignore the noise, the storms, and the piles of, well, stuff that piles up within me and around me.

“Mama,” my bigger little one asks, “did you know that hibernating bears only breathe once a minute?”

“No,” I tell him, “I did not know that.”

But I believe it.

Just one breath of the sweet air inside my safe little cave, this nest of tenderness and mercy, could be enough to sustain a lifetime.

The View Looking Out From Inside My Cave

This post was inspired by a photo provided by Angie McMonigal Photography as part of our Photo Inspiration Challenge. I am eternally grateful for her unyielding support and striking sources of inspiration. You can see more of her work on her website or Facebook page.

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4 Comments

  • Beautifully written!!! You sure have a way with your words and messages.
    Don’t worry so much about the “litttle things”….laundry piling up, whether
    what you are doing is right or wrong, etc. Just enjoy life for the beautiful
    situation you are blessed with—GREAT HUSBAND—GREAT FRIENDS–
    GREAT BOYS–GREAT HOME—–
    You call it a cave——-I call mine—living within my bubble. Ever since
    Matt said that I rather think that phrase holds true for me. I think I like
    it as much as you like your cave!!!!!!

    I love your cave! Hope to get there more often within the next year.

    love,
    mom

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