how many ways can you draw quiet?

I’ve tried many ways. I delight in “Seeing-Drawing”, the wonderful meditative practice I learned from Frederick Franck on one of his retreats and also from his classic The Zen of Seeing. I’ve tried just about every form of visual poetry: color, tone, texture. They have all been effective to a degree. Frederick Franck used to assert that the inexpressible was the only thing worth expressing. I took this statement as a koan as I explored ways to express that ineffable quietude.

It wasn’t until my practice distilled down to the essential life-tide of beingness that I approached real stillness, real quietude.

One soft succulent dawn in India I asked myself,  “How would I express that which is most fundamental to my life?

What would that look like?

Breathe in. Breathe out and let a line flow… and again, and again, again.

I drew my breath.

Breathscribe 1, Rishi Valley, India

That was how it began – by just putting down a simple horizontal line every time I exhaled. On the inhalation I paused; returned to my palette.

The line drawn, or painted, was as long as the out-breath, or as long as the paint in the brush lasted.

It didn’t take long for the breath to take over. As I gave myself over more freely and openly to its movement, it rose up and wrapped itself around me. It picked me up and melted me into its rhythm.

I had entered breath’s temple of quietude and I was nowhere to be found.

There was only this breath-breathing Beingness.


my brush is my suijo

California breathing

breath-prayer for Miriam

breathscribe series

5 thoughts on “how many ways can you draw quiet?

  1. And you paint “The Rhythm” so beautifully! I have always loved your “breathscribe” series. They take ‘me’ right into the Quiet ~ the “essential life-tide of beingness” – beautiful description. In the next few months I hope to embark on my own “Liquid Life” “paintings” 🙂 New adventures await! Much love and gratitude for your wonderful expressions of Life! Christine

    1. Dearest Christine what a beautiful comment you have written – it makes me so happy to hear that you ‘feel’ that ineffable quiet expressed by the breath.

      “Liquid Life” paintings! How interesting – I look forward to seeing them appear!

      There’s a new breeze tugging at the sails here too. New creative seeds – been a long while gestating in the womb, but starting to push – such a juicy feeling!

      But the breathscribe works will always pull me back, back into that “life-tide of beingness.” I am so so grateful to have this utterly authentic base for my practice. Everything flows from this.

      Love and gratitude to you –
      ~ ml

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s