Learning to “Breathe” in Our Lives

Dear Reader:

Like me, do you find yourself holding your breath involuntarily at different times? It can happen if my iPhone volume is on too high and I experience a startled jump, or if I am interrupted while deeply absorbed in a book, or even when a quick glance at a phone message shows a number that could spell potential trouble.

This last example happened to me this past week…right after my monthly oncology visit…I had a great visit and was even given an extra month off before my next visit… which is such a special gift. So now why was I getting a call from them the day after my blood work…one time before when this happened it had to do with one test result  from my blood work that needed more examination and testing.

I bravely called back, with fingers crossed and discovered that Dr. Jeter’s office was taking patient testimonials. They wondered if I would be willing to write one for her and send it back. I felt my respiratory system start pumping again while I happily responded that I would be honored to do just that…

One thing I can say about these unexpected and uncertain interruptions is that they do certainly make me “stay in the moment.” My antenna is on full alert and I am solely concentrating on what this moment might hold…negative or positive.

I read an anecdote several years ago from a book called Time and Soul by Jacob Needleman.

I remember the following excerpt “haunted” my thoughts for a long time…forcing me to look in the mirror and decide if I was really living ‘now” or was I waiting for “right away.” Was I a physical part of the world or simply a ‘ghost’ of myself going through the motions?

Some years ago, I was walking downtown San Francisco with a great friend and a learned Tibetan scholar. I asked him about one of the most striking ways that the Tibetans express the uniqueness of the human condition.

Imagine, they say, that deep in the vast ocean there swims a great and ancient turtle who surfaces for air once every hundred years. Imagine further that floating somewhere in the ocean is a single ox-yoke carried here and there by random waves and currents. What are the chances that when the turtle surfaces, his head will happen to emerge precisely through the center of the ox-yoke? That is how rare it is to be born as a human being!

In the middle of our conversation, I pointed to the crowds of men and women rushing by on the street and I gestured in a way to indicate not only them, but all the thousands and millions of people rushing around in the world. “Tell me, Lobsang,” I said, “if it is so rare to be born a human being, how come there are so many people in the world?”

My friend slowed his pace and then stopped. He waited for a moment, taking in my question. I remember suddenly being able to hear, as though for the first time, the loud and frenetic traffic all around us. He looked at me and very quietly replied, “How many human beings do you see?”

In a flash, I understood the meaning of the story and the idea. Most of the people I was seeing, in the inner state they were in at that moment, were not really people at all. Most were what the Tibetans call “hungry ghosts.” They did not really exist.

They were not really *there*. They were *busy*, they were *in a hurry*. They — like all of us — were obsessed with doing things *right away*. But *right away* is the opposite of *now* — the opposite of the lived present moment in which the passing of time no longer tyrannizes us.

The hungry ghosts are starved for “more” time; but the more time we hungry ghosts get, the more time we “save”, the hungrier we become, the less we actually *live*. And I understood that it is not exactly more time, more days and years, that we are starved for, it is the present moment. “Right Away” is not “Now.”


So until tomorrow…

“I don’t know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.” ― Abraham Lincoln

Funny God Wink…just as I was typing away on today’s post (talking about holding my breath when I am caught off-guard while in deep thought)…the doorbell rang…I jumped involuntarily and held my breath. Then I hurried to the door (still holding my breath) and was delighted to find my friend Cindy Ashley at my door…so much so…that my breath, not only returned, it gushed out… along with my voice. 🙂

Cindy said she had to give me  my birthday present early…in fact it really would have gone well with yesterday’s post about face masks.

When I opened it up…I died laughing…see for yourself. Perfect gift at the perfect “NOW” moment! A “Sammy the Red Cardinal” face mask! The red cardinal who adds so much fun to my life.

*Thank you Cindy…and enjoyed discussing and solving all the world’s problems with you yesterday! 🙂

I kept the grandchildren Friday evening while John took Mandy out for her birthday… and then stayed over to watch the children play while they prepared for our Labor Day family holiday and extended birthday combo today!

Inner tubes make great cameo photo frames! I loved watching and photo’ing  action shots for jumping and landing on an inner tube in sitting position. *Only children can pull off that kind of stunt.

What a spectacular surprise awaited me last evening….a perfect moon flower bloom!

As I was taking its photo…I kept seeing bits of white on the back of the trellis and underneath the leaves…two more blooms were three quarters of  a way open…with another bud behind one..just beginning to start. If they all pull it off that will be four blooms in one evening…one of my best  moon flower bloom productions yet! 🙂


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Learning to “Breathe” in Our Lives

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    Thanks for the words of wisdom…”Be still and know that I am God” one of my favorite verses at this time in my life. Loved the bday pictures…


    • Becky Dingle says:

      I agree….quiet time is special time and the older I get the more I need it…God’s love is everywhere every time I yearn for it….Love has no borders…it is boundless…no fences or walls needed in God’s world ….how beautiful heaven must be.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.