Friday, January 16, 2015

we breathe

“In difficult times carry something beautiful in your heart.”

Blaise Pascal

I was reminded of this line as I was looking for a book to buy a friend for a birthday, settling on Anam Cara by John O'Donohue. 

He quotes Pascal, using the word 'heart' rather than mind, as it's sometimes translated (if you can trust  the internet at all when it comes to quotations). 

In the book, O'Donohue also notes: "Each day we breathe 23 040 times..."  

He talks about fragrance and breath, as well, and I began to think about the scents and smells of winter. How I've been burning scented candles in the evening, to make up, perhaps, for the narrower range of smells in winter. I re-potted a small plant earlier this week and revelled in the scent of the potting soil. I've been brewing chai tea, and then adding extra cinnamon and ginger, and breathing in the steam from the tea. But it's never really occurred to me how scent deprived we must become in the winter. I suppose because I'm usually thinking about how pared down our seeing becomes. 

I sat at the kitchen table many times this past week, breathing in the scent of flowers. I'd peel an orange and breathe that in as well. The scent of the pear ripening in the bowl was lovely. 

And then there is the scent of old books. Such as the book of poetry C. is reading, below. 

Well, let's return to Pascal's thought. What beautiful thing will you carry in your heart today?

A piece of music that you can hum along to? I've been listening to this. The flautist Emmanuel Pahud plays Carl Phillip Emmanuel Bach's allegro from Sonata in A minor. Or perhaps, there is a poem you love. Write it out on a piece of paper, fold it up, carry it with you.

Below is a photo of my workspace. You can see the small plant I recently added to the scene - an aloe vera. Something to breathe along with.


  1. I can smell the aromas from your fruit bowl - gorgeous photo! I love your idea of writing a piece of poetry or whatever it may be that suits one's fancy and folding it up and keeping it with us in our pocket. I also love your beautiful daughter's pink hair and how your photos capture her softness. And, oh boy, does your work space put my overcluttered space to shame! Happy weekend, Shawna!

    1. Thanks, Lynn! I hope your weekend has been a lovely one! S.

  2. What a wonderful reminder. Breathing breathing breathing. And to carry something beautiful in your heart. I will keep that in mind as I embark on my Less is More project. :-)

    1. Just had a look at your project! So great! Love it.

  3. doing my best to carry something beautiful in my heart these days.
    I am very 'tuned in' to scents, indoors and out. I have an aversion, however, to scented things. I tend to be a real purist so only appreciate that which grows or exists in nature. Soil, rain, plants, food, and such.
    Your workspace is so appealing -- clean, uncluttered, calm. Very appealing. I love that you have your plant beside you.


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