Within A Greater Breath

“As humans, we are simply asked to walk in the mystery of our identities one day at a time, one step at a time, one question at a time. We are simply asked to know and be known with the whole of creation…”

Kaitlin Curtice (from Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God)

Reflection on the theme of belonging brings to mind an experience from a few years ago, prior to my time at the Guild. I had been out running the gravel weave of country roads surrounding our Texas cabin, and upon finishing my morning run, I returned home via the back of our ten-acre lot.

After stepping over a low section of the old barbed wire fence, there I stood among the pines, waiting for my heart rate and breathing to settle. As my body’s rhythms grew gentler, I noticed that I could see my breath. It surprised and delighted me, inviting me to play a bit with different exhale patterns.

Something again shifted in me, and I caught a peripheral glimpse of swirling mist around me. I was not the only one breathing. Respiration was quietly rising from the pine needle floor and from around the trunks of the trees. The moment enchanted me, and I was wonder-smitten by the reality that my breath was being held within a Greater Breath.

Even as I fumble with words now to describe the experience, I am aware of the little hairs rising on my forearms. I listen to their cue and sit back in my chair to give thanks for this invitation to remember that I belong.

Once in a while, we get to see the ever-present miracle of our belonging. To share such moments through word, song and visuals, is to practice the art of being kin. 

May we move through this day, trusting that as near as our next breath comes the invitation to remember our belonging.

text and paintings by Vonda Drees
Guild Executive Director Emeritus and 2023 Faculty

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