Please Step Away from the Screen, Ma’am

This is my first blog post ever. I came within an inch of accepting a regular gig a few years back before my better angel leaned down and said, “Sweetheart, why would you cause anyone to spend one more second in front of a computer screen? Go outside and think about it.” So I did, and before I got fifteen feet out my back door I saw a monarch caterpillar eating a perfect half-circle from a milkweed leaf. You can see one of these caterpillars on a computer screen, but you cannot give it a pat on the head with a blade of grass so that it ripples its stripes right in front of you. Nor can you breathe the same air, which smells of sun-warmed dirt and wild chives. Breathing the same air is important, since there is no new air in the world. We have been swapping it around for ages, like a heartbeat passed between us.

Under the influence of both the angel and the caterpillar, I decided to try writing a short unblog on this new website. My sole mission will be to try and persuade you to step away from your screen long enough to take a breath. If you would like to try it right now, turn away from this screen and fill your lungs with air. Hold your breath for three heartbeats at the top. Then let it out with a whoosh. Wait at the bottom for three heartbeats before taking your next breath. Repeat this at least two more times. How many places in your body can you feel your heart beating? How astounding is it that this happens even when you are not paying attention? Okay, you can go back to your screen now. See you next time.

17 comments on “Please Step Away from the Screen, Ma’am

  1. This was a great suggestion. It is amazing to feel life in my body, somewhere besides in my fingertips!

  2. Ok. That was good. There is life all around me and I am about to walk into the sacred space of my moment to moment life. Its really ok if you post again. This is church too. Thank you for writing. Namaste

  3. I am currently reading Leaving Church and feel a kindred spirit.. I find God most in my gardens and in nature in general. When we recently built our new house, I specifically chose a lot where I could have the kitchen window positioned for a view. The people in my life looked at me oddly when I told them this, so it was encouraging to read the chapter about building hte Georgia house. Okay, I am on my way outside to breath deeply. There is new milkweed in my garden, so I hope to attract some monarchs!

  4. Today the pastor’s sermon was about keeping the sabbath. She quoted you and Wayne Muller as exhorted us to be intentional about unhooking ourselves from the world on a regular basis in pursuit of beconing our best selves so we may be better able hear that still small voice. I have trouble developing this practice into a habit.

  5. Breathing the same air over all of time feels like the greatest history lesson. This post was a perfect length to achieve your goal. Thanks.

  6. I feel like I should have known this, thought this before; there is no new air. And yet I am sitting here, yes in front of my screen, fascinated by this concept!!! There is so much beauty and scope and possibility in that revelation!
    Thank you. As simple as it may be (and perhaps the whole world has grasped it except me), my mind is whirring! I want to go outside and breathe in air. Suck it in! Air that my mom breathed. Air that my ancestors breathed. And I somehow want to release so much goodness and loveliness and sweetness into so that one day my grandchildren will breathe my air and feel me in it also. Now I’m sounding a little bit crazy so I’ll leave it at this, thank you truly. ♥️

  7. Saw you on Oprah’s Soul Sunday and would love to attend your seminar, but see nothing in the Midwest. Are you planning to come here soon? We all need help.
    Mary Grellner

  8. There is also the matter of neglecting the things that ought to be said, e.g. Bonhoeffer’s failure in 1933 to anticipate the terrible threat to Jews in Germany represented by Hitler’s rise to power.

    Even the greatest among us do such things or fail to do the right and perhaps personally dangerous thing at the best time.

    A retired Anglican Canadian clergy.

  9. Barbara,
    Hi. I’m trying to look for the sermon that you gave that referenced Jesus on a fresco in a church ruins. Do you remember it? Thanks.

  10. I love your unblog. I also want to thank you for giving me the idea to create a moon garden a last year. I learned so many things from your book “Learning to Walk in the Dark” I never had the chance to thank you until now.

  11. I am enjoying your thoughts in Learning to walk in the Dark. Very refreshing! I am looking forward to reading more. Thank you.

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