Right Now, Just Breathe

Helen Kimura
Apr 15, 2021

Summary: In the wake of George Floyd's death, as the world continues to reel from the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Dzung X. Vo pens a stirring poem, reminding us: "right now / when it seems so hard just to breathe / right now / just breathe".

Kyndall Ramirez | Unsplash
A beautiful reminder from Dr. Dzung X. Vo ...

I wrote these lines on the night of May 29, 2020, as I was practicing awareness of the suffering of the world during these times. The basic practice of mindfulness is breathing. But what about when it’s difficult to breathe? What resources do we have to draw on? How can we hold the pain? How can we move towards healing the world, starting with ourselves? You may wish to practice reciting and then sitting and breathing with this poem for a few minutes as a guided meditation.

i can't breathe
said George Floyd
the knee of four hundred years of racism
on his neck

i can't breathe
said the woman
with fear
in her eyes
her lungs attacked by coronavirus
as she was put onto the ventilator

i can't breathe
said the nurse, exhausted
after a long shift
sweating under a hot surgical mask
and foggy goggles

i can't breathe
said the young man
poisoned by a toxic drug supply
and generations of trauma and loss

i can't breathe
said the one hundred thousand
dead americans
a nation
and a world
in mourning

i can't breathe
said cities choked in smoke
from a planet on fire

breathe my dear
said the buddha of our time reminding us of the way
to love and healing and transformation

breathe my dear said the beloved community
and waking up together

breathe my dear
said mother earth
and let my oceans, mountains
and forests embrace you

right now
when it seems so hard just to breathe

right now
just breathe

--Dzung X. Vo

Originally posted on ServiceSpace blog

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