The art of breathing.
The heart of good business is to remember why you’re doing it.
That’s why I decided to collaborate with some of my favourite artists to bring to life words and images, inspired by the breath, and share them on the BreatheSync Instagram account.
The plan emerged following conversations with Penny Lee who I met at The Do Lectures in Wales in Spring 2016.
To start the project, the Zen poet-monk, Kashyapi, who lives in the Bordeira Forest in Portugal, was invited to compose 25 Haiku poems. Here is a short intereview with her:
Why did you agree to the collaboration?
Because I have a passion for sharing poetry in relation to meditation and yoga, and I was struck by the passion of Michael Townsend Williams for the project. I also loved the work of Jim Marsden (the photographer), so it was very easy to say yes to the collaboration. I was already familiar with the BreatheSync app, and have respect for the product and it’s goals.
How did you approach it?
As I usually approach the writing of poetry: Through meditation, contemplation, and silence, I focused on the nature of the breath. I trusted the poems to write themselves, which they did. It is an effortless process. Editing is a separate process, which requires a different approach, and comes afterwards, but often, editing is not needed, or requires very light surgery on the words.
Were there any particularly poignant moments?
The moment I first saw Jim’s photographs, shot in response to the poems. That was such a joy, I had awaited it eagerly, as it was the first time photographs had been created around my work (music has been created around my haiku and renga poems in other collaborative projects).
The moment Michael began to share the photos and haiku on social media, and seeing responses to them.
Seeing the ebook that Michael created of the haiku and images, as a gift for BreatheSync subscribers.
Receiving the printed copy of the book as a surprise gift from Michael at Christmas.*
How does your relationship with breathing affect your creative work?
I most often create poetry as a naturally arising activity, from meditation and contemplation, even simple silent sitting. No focus or intention is required. It is simply a case of getting out of the way, which is what contemplation does, it gets “me” out of the way, leaving space for the poetic flow. I hold no responsibility, nor take any credit for the works created, and in fact, if I ever smell a “me” writing poems, I delete them, because they are from the mind, not the muse.
Do you have any favorite images or haikus?
(I must admit to loving all of Jim’s photographs)
Any advice for budding photographers or poets?
The creative flow I described in my earlier comments is the most natural thing, and is available to each and every one of us. We can tap into it via simple practices such as pranayama, meditation, contemplation, silent sitting, silent walking.
In the work of a poet, the more we let go, the more we receive. So practice letting go. Or if you’re the kind of person to jump off a cliff, just let go.
Being grounded in breath, meditation and contemplation will make a big difference to the creative process. That’s the place to put your effort and attention, not on the actual act of creation. Take care of the foundations, and the building process will be easy.
Thank you Kashyapi for sharing your creative flow with us. If you are inspired to breathe the world better with words and images, please get in touch.
*I will giving away 5 of these limited edition booklets to the first 5 comments below.