Matthew Andrews is a resident of Hampshire County, MA. He is a musician, writer, father, devotee, and co-owner (with his wife Corinne Andrews) of Yoga Center Amherst. He leads pilgrimages to sacred sites in India, teaches yoga philosophy, and serves as President of the Board of Directors for Auroville International, USA.
When I was born, I scooped up some bits of Earth and made my body.
We all do it like that. I saw my son do it, and my daughter too.
Mud and stones and sea and plants and sun; we gather it all up and make an inside and an outside.
And then we climb in and start breathing.
Every day the sun rises and the ocean moves and our blood moves and we breathe.
Every day it’s like that.
I was born, and I screamed and I drew the stuff of this world into my precious new body:
I consented to the collaboration; I was a primitive streak joining this and that:
I agreed to be us.
My breath made relationship, and from within my cocoon, I touched us.
Air whirled in through my face and into the bellows in my chest and into my blood.
My blood was suddenly my own, and I had to keep it moving and keep it inside,
And also my breath told me that I was us and all our blood matters.
This year the Earth we live in wanted to remind us about breathing together.
She wanted to remind us that all blood matters, and that blood can only move when we breathe together.
She thought we had forgotten.
Sometimes, when we see someone stop breathing, then we remember our breath, our life, us.
But mostly we think about our own blood and work hard to make sure that nothing stops it from moving.
So the Earth started whispering to us, reminding us about breathing together, the sweet secret of the air.
Her voice was like an evening breeze in the forest, a little hard to understand, easy to mistake for nothing,
And her voice was like a strong ocean wave, majestic, powerful, thundering, sure.
It was easy to be afraid, to think about our own blood again, instead of breathing together.
But somehow, it wasn’t just a voice or a breeze or a wave: there was a love, assurance, comfort.
It was subtle, easy to miss, but once felt it couldn’t be denied,
Like the feeling of sun on a face.
It was like breath, really. Love moved in the air like breath and filled us secretly, unseen.
It mixed into our blood and it warmed us from within. It didn’t show up on any scientific instruments.
That’s how these things happen sometimes: it’s not our big plans that shape the world.
We look around and we have an idea that we didn’t have before.