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Breath Glowing red rock drops to reveal a horizon dotted with the tops of green trees, sometimes broken by the smooth outline of distant peaks, towering volcanoes. The air is thick with the scent of pollen, wildflowers bloom in openings underneath the thick Pinion Juniper canopy. Momentary thoughts of work pull me away from such vivid observations, my mind drifts to another place and I become seemingly lost in thoughts away from the scene that otherwise occupy my senses. The power of the mind is eminence, so strong it can take us away from our place. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Air gently flows in through my nasal cavity filling my lungs as my diaphragm pulls with the strength of a horse. My lungs saturate with the beauty of my surroundings, my nerves ease as I settle back into the ground. A simple inhalation and the world shares itself with me. No longer do my thoughts balloon into removing entities that distract me from the moment, now I am here. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Gently pushing air from deep within in me, my diaphragm relaxes as I share myself with the world. Around me, Pinion Jays sing with the love of the moment. I settle deeper into the Earth as I let out my innards, calmer yet, the Universe and I truly seem to be sharing this moment together. What is it about breathing that calms us and brings us to the moment? Scientists seem to argue that breathing deeply somehow interacts with the Vagus Nerve. The Vagus Nerve is really a complex network of nerves that weave the brain, heart, lungs, and digestive tract together. Scientifically, it makes sense then that breathing would help you find your heart and relax your vital functions. Is that the extent of it? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Inhaling brings air into us. Air seeps into our blood and is carried throughout our body, thus saturating us with it. Of course, our metabolic seek the oxygen that exists in air, but we also bring in all the other components of air, from gaseous elements to pollen and debris from organic and inorganic occupants of Earth. In the most direct sense, we are breathing in our surroundings. Fragments of skin, dust, plant material, even microbitotic organisms invisible to the eye all float into us as we inhale. More indirectly, the gas that feeds our respiratory processes, oxygen, is the byproduct of another organisms own form of breathing, photosynthesis. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Exhaling, pushing air out from use. Used and spent, our breath is concentrated with carbon dioxide. The byproduct of our breathing yields the exact gas plants seek to inhale. Sure, science seems to finding evidence that breathing calms us down via communication through the vagus nerve. Given the Vagus nerves connection to the heart, mind, and lungs, this seems to be a logical pathway that is easy to believe. But it seems the science is leaving out an additional mechanism to which breathing may be calming, intimacy. When we breathe in, we take our soundings and saturate ourselves with them. We feel the bond with the particles we inhaled as we feel them become us. We then exhale, returning the gift we once inhaled in the form most appropriate for those who receive it. The world becomes decorated with particles of us. The breathing forest becomes us as we become the forest. Subconsciously, our bodies know this story, this calms us. 1 I breathe in, embracing the way I feel at the moment. Like the first bite of a homemade cake, you let the flavor saturate your lounge and indulge in yourself on the first bite. 2. Exhale, I share myself with the word and describe my feelings. This is normally exclamations of joy in regards to cake, “This is so good! That frosting is rich!”, for example. 3. Inhale, ready again to embrace the sensations of the moment, now with more grateful recognition of what made the moment possible. The second bite almost always seems larger than the first, and is often proceeded with something along “Thank so much for this, just wonderful!”. Of course we are still grateful to be eating cake, but now we honor the baker as we indulge. For me, it goes on like this. Each exhalation I feel excited to burst out of myself and share with the world my existence and feelings. 4. Each inhalation brings in new material that is sharing itself with me. 5. I take, inhale, and I give back, exhale. 6. Breathing opens my body to the love of the world and shares my love with the world. Breathing pulls everything together; it weaves me into the landscape. This connectedness calms me, breathing reminds me that no matter what, I belong here as part of this perfect landscape. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Darkness has swept over the landscape. In my mind, I can still picture the lay of the land, the position and height of the distant volcano. In my lungs, I can feel it. In my heart, I know it and love it. A walk in the dark is rich with this vivid landscape of love.

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