Honey in my first cup of tea, a comforting morning ritual.

I visited my dad and his lovely wife Carol this week. They didn’t have any honey. Actually, I didn’t ask if there was honey. I looked the couple of places where honey should probably be and didn’t see it. I assumed. Hmmmm.

My dad spends part of his year in the desert near Joshua Tree. On this visit we saw coyotes, a golden eagle and a chuckwalla.

Morning tea, first cup, is not the same without honey. Maybe it’s the sweetness, the habit, maybe honey triggers some brain chemistry change, whatever. The two mornings I was there I did without. There was sugar, there was stevia, there was even maple syrup, but I went without. Hmmmm.

My younger daughter moved out a few months ago. I put her mattress on craigslist last night. I woke up this morning depressed. Hmmmm.

This morning, I had honey for my tea. I had a dozen emails from people wanting the mattress. But I realized the honey was a familiar, sweet friend and the mattress, a landing pad. Both, honey and mattress, represented something safe.

I found my way to my meditation mat and breathed. There are lots of breathing methods. This morning I chose one first taught to me by Kari Simms (now Anthon) www.lifeloveyoga.com. She called it the four part breath. Breathe sequentially into belly, chest, back and collarbones. It works, it worked.

It got me thinking about the wave, the four stages of breath. Inhale, exhale and the two points where the breath changes from in to out and out to in.

Everything can be analogized to this pattern. The wave as I expand or grow, reach some place of max expansion/growth, hover there for a bit, then contract or integrate, reach some place of max contraction/integration and then start the process again. Inhale/exhale, eat/digest, read/comprehend, rise/fall, succeed/fail, confusion/understanding and the moments suspended between the two.

The problem comes when I expect, hold on to, or yearn for some phase other than the one I am in. Or even more challenging, wanting to inhale and exhale at the same time.

I worry about my daughter. I will always be her father but I really enjoy being her dad. I want to be past this difficult stage, this place where she is contracting to a place where she is expanding. Expansion is easier for me and I project it will be easier for her. I yearn to inhale when it is time to exhale. I can’t inhale forever, I can’t prevent her from living the cycle of pain and recovery. I want her to succeed without ever failing.

When threatened, the chuckwalla runs into a crack, inhales deeply and holds its breath. He uses his expanded body to wedge himself into the rock. He gets stuck on purpose. It feels safe to him. Bloated without possibility of movement feels safe.

One of the guidebooks suggested that by tapping the chuckwalla on the nose with a stick, you could get it to exhale, coax it from the crack it has gotten itself into.

Tap, tap, tap. I gave away the mattress. I see the honey for what it is.

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