I climbed to 18,000 feet, pushed myself way too hard. I did not listen to my breath, until it was almost gone. I am doing this chemo journey differently that that. I am learning to listen. What I felt there is what I feel today, that openness to wanting to know what is inside. I walked in Kathmandu and took it all in, a chicken having its head whacked off, the bathing in the streets. I didn't put a scarf over my mouth. I wanted to breathe it all in. I breathed in the burning of those who had died, and were cremated by the river, next to the bridge we crossed.
All is open there, and yet, it is not. Certain functions are private, and there are certain monasteries that are tiny entries tucked into the rocks.
And, then, there is Tengboche at 13,000 feet. One can still breathe without noticing each step. It was newly re-built when I was there, a splendid monastery with drapings of gold. I turned 44 there at the foot of that monastery, and, early that morning, there was a special ceremony. My friend and I entered, along with all the monks, and, were served, along with them, a sweet,milky tea. There was deep, gutteral, chordal singing, and horn blowing. I felt I was present at the beginning of time, at the Big Bang, and, I felt the inhalation, and exhalation, the continuing formation and reformation, of everything. I feel that now. I re-form on the breath, in and out. I can know my insides. I do know them. I blow them in and out, many times in a moment. I send my breath to you. You send your breath to me. We whisper and shout our breath back and forth to each other. I feel joy. I am joined.