Remember to Breathe

Yesterday morning I was participating in the final Mass of the retreat I was a director for at the Jesuit Retreat House in OshKosh. Within an hour after that, I was outside of the house in which Elena lived at college this year packing the car with her belongings. (Considering how much she left in storage there for the summer, I was astounded at the number of boxes and bags we had to fit in the car.)  After an almost five hour drive, we were back in the Twin Cities where I spent several hours doing laundry, dealing with accumulated mail and running other errands as I get ready to leave again for another almost ten days.  This morning I packed and will soon head to the airport for a flight to New York for the opening of my cousin’s sculpture show, followed by a week of my own silent retreat at San Alphonso Retreat House on the New Jersey shore.

I’m exhausted all over again just reading what I’ve written!  It is easy to get overwhelmed when in the midst of crazy scheduling. (And, as though to underscore the scheduling frenzy, when Dave picks me up from the aiport a week from Saturday, we will head straight to the graduation party of the son of some friends.)

In times like this, I return to the beautiful breathing meditation suggested by Thich Nhat Hanh in Living Buddha, Living Christ. He suggests watching the breath come in and out, reciting with each breath these lines:

Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment.

Sometimes I just need the reminder.  Breathe in…breathe out…smile…stay in the present moment.

I’m not taking my computer with me to New York.  My own silent retreat is the one time I ignore e-mails and other internet distractions.  So while I may post an occasional reflection here based on my retreat via my iPhone, you may not hear much from me until after my return on the 20th.  Please keep me in your prayers during the retreat.