Release What Doesn’t Belong

by Gina Marselle, November 2020

“Alive and well–

release what doesn’t belong,”

a mantra imagines.

I release this worry, heavy like a crow

sitting empty on a branch

near a river’s edge–

without flight.

This pandemic is like a broken wing

filling my head with fear,

allowing anxiety to bear her weight.

Weighing my heart down until breath is shallow

weak, panicky:

breathe in to the count of 4

hold for the count of 4

exhale for the count of 8

4-4-8

again.

My breath feels weak, without belief.

Prayers are empty. The sky has little light.

Inhale.

A corner of the blue sky smells like lilacs in autumn–

jealous my lungs gulp deep.

I try to center.

Palpating the naked earth between my toes,

as the wind arouses my hair.

I seed my toes into the earth’s belly

experiencing the enormity of time.

Earth has survived all the pandemics.

What can I learn from her?

I am silent. Listening.

I hear her enormous gulps of air,

she sighs a tremendous breath.

She utters in a voice as endless as time,

“You are alive and well–

release what doesn’t belong to you.”

I gulp her breath as my own,

kiss it deep into my center–

whisper out this mantra

until the crow heals and takes flight.

The branch snaps back with strength, the weight lifted

and without fear, worry

dances carefree in the quiet breeze

as the early morning light lifts higher into a dim sky.

ask your heart–

ask your heart

I.

May I be happy?

May I be loved?

May I be worthy of that love?

May I be at peace?

May I be strong enough?

May I be okay alone?

II.

There is so much happening in the world and with all my roles–mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, neighbor, voter…I sometimes forget the role of SELF. The role self and all I need in order to have harmony. On empty, I can’t accomplish much.

III.

On empty,

I won’t get very far

if I am driving –my body– this vehicle, on empty

will putter, stall, stop. Getting nowhere. I’ll just be stuck here, stuck with these emotions, stuck with these fears, stuck on EMPTY.

IV.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

ask your heart

May I have energy?

She will say, yes. She looks out for you. Pumps life into you without any other reason than she loves you. Once-in-a-while, she’d like you to take a moment in gratitude. Place your hand on her, feel her strength and say, “Thank you.”

So Heart,

“Thank you. Thank you for beating all these years, for giving me life for all these years. Such a gift to see my daughter grow, to see my son grow, to see the sun rise and set 16,790 times–truly, that’s a miracle.

I am

grateful.”

Gina Marselle, 10/17/2020

Hermosa Beach, Cali | July 2019 | Gina Marselle