Preface: I wrote this blog about a week ago but wasn’t able to post it until now.

Today is a beautiful day. The sun is shining. The temperature will be close to 30 Celsius and there is just a light breeze coming off the water to make it delicious.

It’s the last morning of the long weekend and there are fishing boats slowly drifting by mixed with the monotonous drone of pleasure craft racing past as they get ready for one more fabulous party day at the lake. The tap tap of a hammer a few doors down, the revving motor of a mini bike on the road behind us. Over the weekend the dock has been scrubbed, a Pike has been reeled in and filleted, crayfish have been caught and released. Games have been played, new friends made and old friends visited. Mosquitoes have feasted and so have we. The swallows tend their nest under our trailer that our daughter peacefully slumbers within.

“Get up sleepy head! You are missing a beautiful morning!” I think to myself.

Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Plato

This beautiful morning began by being jolted out of bed by the phone. I scrambled for it as I came wide awake at the same time chiding myself for not having insured it was beside me, just in case.

It was a call saying my somewhat frail father in law would be going into emergency surgery this morning. Then another call and we’re in a holding pattern. It’s wait and see. He’s stable, maybe something other than surgery will turn out to be a better option. Wait. See.

So when she falls back asleep this morning I let her. Today is that kind of day.

I walked out into the beautiful morning and saw the swallow swooping in under the trailer again. A second pair built a nest just after the first gained their independence. I realized it would be impossible for this family to raise their young to independence before we are due to hook up the trailer and head off on vacation. Blissfully unaware of what the future may hold they continue fretting over the preparations with four eggs already in the new nest.

It’s easy to sit and worry; to bemoan that I am angry and frustrated, fearful and have little control over the swallows’ plight and no control over the situation with my father in law’s health. I’m also quite experienced at following the path marked “Worry Yourself Sick”. Through reflection I have come to understand that regardless of whether the worry is founded, that route insures I am weakened and less effective if I am actually required to respond to something.

So I’ve chosen to attempt to accept that this too has a reason and my lack of worrying will not negatively affect the outcome in the least. What will be, will be.

This is my opportunity to choose my reaction to the situation. I will do what needs to be done as the need arises. I will trust that I can do that.

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

Today I’m appreciating every single piece of beauty in all forms and formlessness. I will gratefully share it too.

I’m starting a practise Pema Chodron refers to in her book “When Things Fall Apart” (Shambhala Publications ). It’s called Tong Lin. Using poison as medicine. Somehow it seemed appropriate.




Paraphrasing from her audio book, When suffering is detected the instruction is to let the story line go and breathe in the anger, resentment, loneliness or whatever we might be feeling. Then also breathe in the identical pain of others who are also feeling bitterness pain or isolation, the same feelings that you are (or the person you are directing the practise towards). We breathe in the poison for everybody, we are practising in essence, standing in someone else’s shoes. Instead of running from the feelings and experience we connect with it, breathe it in and we do this with the wish everyone could be free from suffering. We breathe out sending out a feeling of big space a sense of ventilation or freshness. We do this with the wish that everyone could relax and experience their inner most essence. We breathe out what they need to help the suffering. The purpose of the practise is to dissolve the dualistic struggle we have been taught – good and bad, right and wrong, pretty and ugly. Therefore we move toward difficulty instead of backing away.

After I’d listened to her instruction, I couldn’t help but think what a wonderful thing it would be if everyone actually did that, actually felt that way for everyone else.  If we would only remember what we already know, that standing in someone else’s shoes changes us.  It encourages compassion, empathy, kindness, understanding and patience.

I know the breath is calming and I’m breathing anyway so this is for you dad, for all of us who care about you, for everyone else facing the same kind of things.

I’m breathing for you.

Breathing in fear. Breathing out peace.
Breathing in frustration. Breathing out love.
Breathing in pain. Breathing out healing.
Breathing in, breathing out.

Love you dad.

Namaste child

Follow up note: At least for the time being surgery has been averted. Breathe in. Breathe out.

©2014 Rise Like Air J. Fries

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