Cradling Our Breath
Rocking the Heart
In June, I sat with a guided meditation teacher on Dan Harris’s app, Ten Percent Happier, where the prompt was simply, “cradle your breath.” As I applied the teacher’s breathing instruction to my practice, I couldn’t shake the image of George Floyd’s cheek on the asphalt, pinned under an officer’s knee beside a police car. As it did for many of us, his recent death and the subsequent protests brought the realities of police brutality and institutional racism into the forefront of my conciousness. Connecting these events with the inner functions of the body, this series of paintings represents the preciousness of our breath—how our living ought to be cradled, swaddled like a newborn. Embedded in the piece “Cradling Our Breath” is a quote from American folk singer Fred Neil, who wrote, “People, I’m not one to tell this old world how to get along. I only know that peace will come when all hate is gone.” In order to “Stay Afloat” during this time of upheaval and change, we are being called to hold the collective pain that many cultures endure. This requires generating more self-awareness. We must ask ourselves: “What biases do each of us carry? What intolerances do we project? What individual grievances do we hold?” These questions require a “Rocking of the Heart.” When our hearts are truly shaken, we will look for what we can bring to the ocean of humanity. Every meaningful question that we ask ourselves—like the captain of a trawler who draws sustenance from below—will bring all of us, at the end of the day, home to a collective “Safe Harbour.”
After 22 years in the healing arts, Sarah Platenius is dedicating more time to mixed-media, creative nonfiction and poetry. Alongside adventure in rugged landscapes, these modalities have always informed her life. Born on Maui, and a dual citizen of the US and Canada, Platenius has called many places home: New Hampshire, California, Arizona, and the temperate rain forest of the west coast of Vancouver Island, where she lives with her husband, son and daughter. Her one-acre garden keeps her rooted. Her writing has most recently appeared in Sound Range and Wilderness and is forthcoming in Gatherings. Her art appeared in Wilderness, The Hopper Magazine ‘Bewilder’ print edition, a solo art show at Experiential Gallery, a non-juried art show with Pacific Rim Arts Society, and a collaborative exhibition showcasing female artists called Woman in the Water.