My three words are with me all of the time. They guide me and moreso, remind me why they are chosen. It is not always easy to follow them and that reminds me that this is the very reason I need them.
Realise …………… they remind me.
Life continues to be intense here, the pace rapid and pressure too high. “Breathe“, my mantra whispers to me. “I know“, I reply to myself. “I know. I’m trying“.
My weekends have glimpses of rest and escape from the frenzy, but recently I found the weekends were increasingly squeezed and the weeks stretching. Breathing was an effort.
Respite eventually came the first weekend of March with two public holidays – one on a Monday, another the Wednesday. It was easy to take a leave day for the Tuesday and plan an retreat and space to breathe.
Energy levels were low, time was fairly short and the nervous investment as well as financial for flights to be kept at a minimum. I decided to head out of town to Bago, a city just over an hour north of Yangon, and one which for a number of reasons I had never properly visited.
Bago is rich in temples and history. From 1369–1539 it served as capital of the Mon Hanthawaddy Kingdom, which covered all of what is now Lower Myanmar.
I opted to stay out of town, in a tranquil haven with understated style and views across the plains. A small swimming pool and surrounds of trees, crowded with busy birds provided what I craved. The space to breathe, and gradually unwind. I could feel tense muscles starting to relax and my thoughts begin to slow as I focused more on my surroundings and less on the mental baggage I was attempting to shed.
For two whole days I focused on breathing. I read. I swam. I wrote. I pondered. I watched the colours of the sky change and the birds chit chat as they flitted from branch to branch and tree to tree.
As the hours of the third day moved forwards, I decided to venture into Bago City itself. You can’t visit Bago and not soak in the atmosphere of the temples. The heat was already gone from the afternoon sun and soft golden rays reaching lazily across the landscape. The perfect time to visit temples.
Impressive Shwe Maw Daw Temple is reminiscent of Shwe Dagon in Yangon.
A visit to the famous python, said to be 123 years old and revered as a nat reincarnation is important. Money is given and prayers chanted. Happily the python seemed to bee sleepy, even if watching carefully.
A visit to Hintha Gon Temple was perfectly time as the sun was now orange, and throwing deep, soft beams into the corners of the temple and creating a glow in the sky.
The view over to Shwe Maw Daw was breathtaking from Hintha Gon and I spent as long as I could, breathing and watching.
The light was slowly bleeding from the sky as I called in at the reclining Buddha before retuning to Bago under a night sky.
The following afternoon, after another evening of pondering and breathing, it was time to return to Yangon. I was refreshed and revitalised and more than ever bow to the importance of breathing.
I learned that B is for breathe. B is for Bago.
Thank you, Bago, and for providing this space to breathe.