“The only time you ever have in which to learn anything or see anything or feel anything, or express any feeling or emotion, or respond to an event, or grow, or heal, is this moment, because this is the only moment any of us ever gets. You’re only here now; you’re only alive in this moment.”
~ Jon Kabat Zinn
It’s early—it’s still dark out.
The train moves so quickly I can barely keep up. A sea of white snow, and gray and brown, rushes by.
It’s that time of year.
You know, that time when you just can’t wait to get out of yourself.
I sit with the uneasiness of having forgotten my book and the brutality of how reactive I am. I forgot my f-ing book! Just last week I felt moved to write about the beauty of silence and yet here I am trying desperately to fill it.
This morning the hum and swoosh of the train is nowhere near comforting
I pause on the word. I see it repeated in my head.
It comes like a revelation. No where. Now Here!
I feel a surge of pride as though somehow I am the first to have this realization—I’m so Deepak Chopra!
And then it’s gone.
In my usual way, I play myself down. I make myself small—I think how ridiculous I am. How can I be insightful in any way?
I feel nowhere near the now here.
I remember her voice and her words. She’s sitting beside me instead of stinky cigarette guy. She wraps her arm through mine and leans in. I see her smile and her beaming eyes. She tells me “You’re beautiful. And silly.” She says “You see your patterns, can you hold them with metta?”
I smile coyly to myself; I think I am doing it discreetly but the woman across from me holds my gaze a moment too long. And then she smiles—it’s like she knows everything about me.
We all know, don’t we? If we just catch the right frequency?
I sit up a little taller, remembering my own words from the last few weeks of teaching my yoga classes. I let my shoulder blades hold me. They are as they should be, the hands of my heart. And in that simple act of changing my posture, that little shift in my seat, my experience becomes remarkably different.
The train’s gentle swaying is comforting, almost like a hug. I look out; the view is different now. The light has changed. Here, the sea of cookie cutter houses and tufts of dead grass fighting the snow sing their own unique beauty and the promise of spring. It’s a soulful and heartbreakingly sad song, like a lullaby whispered to a child already asleep.
I hold myself, all of me: my sadness and my joy, my hurt and my gratitude. I feel safe and cuddled, as though the four of us strangers silently sitting together on this ride are exactly where we should be. For a moment or two, I am in the now here.
The train stops. People enter, lots of them. We’re getting closer to the city. Cigarette guy gets up. There is an awkward few seconds where his seat is empty and the three of us remaining look at each other without looking. We feel his absence. And just as quickly as he left, someone else arrives. It all shifts once more. I’m transported back into nowhere: irritation and annoyance. The rocking of the train is like a pushy kid, reminding me of my increasingly uncomfortable full bladder.
The cycle of nowhere now here begins again.
I try to hold it all with a sense of equanimity. Not running from the irritation, not forcing the feeling of being present either.
I guess this is what it is to take your practice off your mat.
Myriam Khouzam is a yoga teaching, raw treat making, dog walking lover of silence. She co-owns sukha yoga centre in Guelph, Ontario. She sometimes misses the big city and is currently learning to love the small one.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise
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