One Breath

One breath; one breath at time,

a breath-on-breath is all we get:

and you cannot take it with you


What use were your busy activities, exaggerated ambitions, useless anxieties?

They were as empty as hollowness


People live and die, epochs come and go:

historical patterns perpetuate their lessons


False optimism expands, blows up, returns to reality;

Breezy enthusiasm blows in, rushes past, and fades out;

fluid thoughts flow, are interrupted, and then go back to their pre-occupations

endlessly emotions entangle themselves in selfishness;

recurring destructive patterns reiterate their destruction


North, East, West, South;

news repeats global gossip


Moods endlessly rise and fall

on reasons to be sad, in places to feel glad

near an excuse to get mad,

knotted in dread


Attitudes know too much, but not enough

History repeats its errors

what has been spoken will be repeated

the lessons of what we have seen and heard were all there before

yet we never learn enough to stay quiet


So what’s new?  Nothing!

Ancient wisdom is imprinted in our origins

and waits for us in tomorrow


Who am I to say all this?

I am someone who is committed to insights about myself!


I opened my mind to allow myself to change

I explored denied feelings

And I sought transformation


I stopped trying to be right, I ceased the search for perfection

and rejoiced in life’s ironies


I have traveled the world of compulsions and been at home with self-destruction

I have seen what’s going down from underneath

I have denied, evaded, minimized and trivialized until I drove myself crazy

I have manipulated, protested, been pathetic and brave

faced affliction, experienced decline, repeated neglect and clung to unsurpassed abandonment

but I couldn’t change a thing, except myself


If hard lesson are valuable,

I am the wealthiest person around!


At my wits end I tried to figure out what I knew

but it led only to more anxiety


Numbed out, I stuffed my feelings

and tried to cope with too many facts

and material evidence


Then I began to learn about me


I told myself to quit beating up on myself,

let go, be happy

Life is just a joke—unless you take it seriously!


But I couldn’t escape into laughter


I tried mind-altering drugs, alcohol and excitement highs,

and invented new lifestyles

but perpetual novelty soon got old


Then I became a workaholic,

committing myself to other peoples’ causes

in order to realize personal ambitions


I became creative and expressed myself in the arts,

sought satisfaction in music, poetry and performance


I went to parties, schmoozed up to whoever might help me

and wore designer clothes


I envied the high-life, loved beautiful celebrities

and emulated their charming whims


I wanted to be in a club with those who think alike and enjoy the same things


Abandoned, I balance at the edge of wild experience,

out there, trying to take it all in


But what did I take in?

I took myself in!

and my presence shriveled


Until I realized that our minds

can make anything of anything


All my explanations were based on self-centered immaturity


I thought I was the only one who suffered

but now I realize that to every life there is

a period when you are lost in the wilderness, and space to find yourself

a lapse into self-hatred, and a turn toward recovery

an interlude of peevishness, and a stretch in which to mature

a point of breakdown, and a pause to heal

an interval to try new things, and the motivation to settle down

a decline into revenge, and an opening for forgiveness

a stage when you reject, and an opportunity to receive

a session for sharing, and an interest in being alone

a moment when you win, and a shift into loss

an inclination to hold on, and a realization to let go

a habit of strife, and the opportunity for peace

a regression into whims, and a condition of total commitment

a rush to compulsion, and the calm of reflection


Where does fighting it get you?  We all experience these things.  All the stories of the world are contain reflections of normal experience.  We know mighty epics of history in large scale, and we know them in microcosm!  Who are we fooling if we deny the full range of normal experience?  Ourselves, as usual.  We fool only ourselves.


We are designed to accept happiness, yet struggle against the acceptance of our selves—the only

way to inborn happiness!

We say we want to be happy, yet refuse to exercise the patience that brings happiness

We yearn for joy yet deny the self-honesty that creates it

We feel we have a right to bliss, yet refuse to accept it with gratitude.


If nothing so far has released your intrinsic happiness, why not rejoice in your own presence of life?

The same presence that brought your body into this world also gave the will and abilities to survive.

The life force that created creativity itself and minds to create

The seed of emotional development that progresses toward compassion

The impulse that we call God, because no other name is good enough to extol all virtue


You want to be happy?  Thankfulness feeds your essence. Thank God, by whatever name you choose; thank God for the happiness that gratitude brings


How do you learn to do this?  Just go about your own business with an open mind

Your job is to go about your own business, openly.



© Richard Holdsworth 2012


Topics: Aging, New Thought/New Age, and Worship & Liturgy. Resource Types: Readings.

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