inner swingset

Swing-at-the-End-of-the-World-6Imagine yourself, sitting in it right now at this time, a swing, and it and you are just swinging back and forth, exactly as you want it and you to, with the air feeling just like the air feels on the edges of your lips or nostrils when you breathe in and you breathe out. And as you swing, the breeze caresses your body like a mother or a lover, now your back, now your face.

Try using your breath to kick off and pump your tire swing back into the air. Inhale your tireswing as far back as it can go, then exhale it down until you find yourself almost stopped. If you want, you can even hold your breath, freezing the swing in mid-air. And then let out, and go. The breeze on your imagined body should feel exactly like the air on the edges of your lips and nostrils when you inhale extra hard, or exhale extra hard, when you drink the air in or blow the air out.

And just like the air that passes through your lips and nose, the air that caresses you when you’re on the tire swing never really stops for long. It just reaches the end of one direction, and then goes in the other. The ride back starting just when the ride up ends.

And unlike the ride you get from any imagined commercial swingset, the ride on your All-Weather Inner Playground Ten Button Tire swing can take you almost any direction – not only back and forth, but in circles and arcs, spinning and twisting, lines and spirals. So you could be just spinning on your tire swing if you so desired, back and forth, with each breath, spinning, and maybe lying back at the same time, with your head so far back you can see the sky underneath you and the ground overhead. Turning in the breezes of your breath. Without any effort at all.

And because it’s in your pretend playground, your tire swing is on a surprisingly long rope, hanging surprisingly high off the ground, from a surprisingly tall tree on an amazingly long branch. A tree on the edge of a cliff, surprisingly high above the ocean and city, sparkling in the sunset light. And no, no, you can’t fall off, unless you want to or have to. And if you did fall, you’d probably fly. And no, no, the rope can’t break, and neither can the tree and neither can the branch. And yes, the branch swings too, sometimes so low that it seems like you’re actually going to scrape the ground. But you never do. Not the tire. Not your feet. Not your head. Unless you want to.

Imagine yourself swinging and spinning, the air going passed you just like the air going in and out of your nose, in and out of your mouth, in and out of your lungs, caressing your whole body like it caresses the edges of your nostrils, the edges of your lips.

And this time, to get higher still, you give the air an extra push, pumping the tire swing far, far back, as long as you can breath out. And then you let the air come back into you, and the swing arc down and over the cliff and up into the evening sky. Not like you’re actually breathing the air in, but more the air is coming into you, filling you. And then, again, you push the air out, pumping the tire swing back and up, so high that you can see the whole tree, the whole city, the whole ocean, the whole sky.

And then you just let yourself ride, your breath the only thing that moves you, until…because it’s just a playground and you’re just a player and you’re only playing…you find yourself somewhere else, completely at play with something else or someone else, not at all aware that there is any breath there at all.

And you forget that you are swinging and forget that you are breathing. And you just let go, let go, entirely, tirelessly, and the tire swing is nowhere around, and you are breathing without you, not even thinking about breathing. Not even thinking about tire swings. Not even swinging.

Breathing, but not noticing. Forgetting utterly that you’re even supposed to remember. Until you find yourself floating elsewhere entirely, drifting, toying with this or that or this and that, this dream or that, this playground.

Until, magically, you notice it again, your breath again, and again you find yourself, back in your tire swing, exactly where you left off, swinging back and forth, freely, unstoppably. Higher than you thought possible and higher still. Back and forth. The air touching, caressing you. The sounds of your breath coming and going along with the creak of the rope as it twists in the imaginary breath that suspends you.

from Playgrounds for the Soul, volume 2 of Recess for the Soul

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