In the absence of a to-do list, which I felt completely incapable of crossing off, I decided I should allow myself to just breathe. My only tasks, get out of bed, and be.
I may have shut off the news, indulged in a lot of Instagram self help posts, and also started collecting images of lungs, which reminded me of satellite images of rivers from above, of glaciers melting and flowing into the sea, trickling ribbons in a delicate stream.
So I made a series of collages based on breath. A lot of people use the process of breathing as a form of meditation. I have a habit of falling asleep in the middle of this, so I only really use it last at night, but diving has become a sort of meditation for me- also using the process of using breath.
You can carry with you a tank of oxygen, but you never really want to get too low or use too much, so you try and relax as much as possible, breathe slower and fuller, using as little energy as possible, flowing with the current, using long fluid flipper movements from your hips, to carefully to angle your direction.
Holding onto your breath can bring you gracefully up over a swaying coral reef; a long, slow exhalation can bring you 20ft deep down over a cliff into a dark sandy valley, a tiny inhale stop you from grazing the bottom of the ocean. You are constantly making sure you exhale to the fullest amount, using every last bit of air to its fullest potential, as any air you carry will expand as you dive deeper, pulling you back up when you least expect or want it. I didn’t really know how to truly empty my lungs until I started diving.
One of the most beautiful things for me is a position of equilibrium every diver is taught- sitting still, hanging in the balance, neither ascending or descending, swaying, with only the rhythm of your breath keeping you in place.
It only then made sense to invert my collages of lungs, and create a garden of coral. Breathe alone can be growth.