Sunday, September 27, 2020

Pause for Breath

-- Susan, every other Sunday 

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process, (s)he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back at you."--Nietzche

"Perception of an object varies according to the mind. When the mind is polluted, the object becomes tainted." -- Kōbō Daishi

Today, I am turning my back on the abyss, to cleanse my mind with a (virtual) walk in the woods. I hope you'll join me.

Shinrin-yoku (lit. "forest bathing")

The Japanese practice of entering nature (specifically forests)

for the purpose of cleansing and healing the mind and soul.

Take a walk in the trees.

Sit in silence. Contemplate the mountain. 

Breathe fresh air.

Listen to the wind in the reeds.

Follow a trail to a destination you cannot see.

See the grasses turning gold as summer gives way to autumn.

Feel the breeze on your cheeks and the sunlight on your head and shoulders.

Pause for breath.

Find a place to be alone, if only for a moment.

No phones. No Internet.

Walk off the beaten path, and feel the earth beneath your feet.

Go past the place where the trail ends.

And when you're ready, begin your return to civilization. 

Eat the pancake. Drink the coffee. Remember that life is sweet as well as bitter.

Remember that when you need them, the mountains and the trees will be waiting for you.

And remember . . . it's OK to take time to breathe.


  1. Yes, indeed, Susan. I have always found forests to be incredibly calming--something about the padded silence pierced by animals' calls here and there. And throw in a bubbling brook or stream and my peace is complete.

    1. I feel precisely the same Kwei - and we need them now, perhaps, more than ever.

  2. Dear friend. How perfectly lovely. How evocative of the time we spent together. I know you remember the day when I practically had to force you to leave me alone while you went on to reach the summit in Kyoto, whose name I don't remember. I watched the hawks circling and circling. I think you can add that to your list of ways to make one's spirit soar!

  3. Thank you for this virtual walk through the forest. The photos were beautiful, and your comments were great. I found myself taking that deep breath of fresh air!

  4. I want to go there! But since I can't, I think I'll make pancakes.