Ancient Lessons (Adhered to for a Few Hours)

My morning started out horribly. I am not a morning person. I move at the speed of a glacier while I am waking up, a process that takes a good hour, often more. I am not one of those people who can roll out of bed and get out of the house in ten minutes or less. After having lived with one of those types I can honestly say, “I hate you people.” After a sleepless night I especially had trouble this morning, the fact that I am currently juicing in the morning instead of drinking coffee, or any caffeine for that matter, did not help. There was a lot of standing in the middle of my apartment mindlessly wondering what the hell I was supposed to be doing this morning. Oh yeah, I was supposed to be getting dressed and double checking the bag I had packed the night before to make sure it contained everything I need for the day.

When I finally got my tired, dragging ass out of my apartment I was faced with the massive construction going on right outside my door. While I should be used to it I never fail to be appalled that they have closed off the walkway directly across from my building forcing me to walk one block north in order to cross the street and get to the subway. Muttering and grumbling, and with a nose that was dripping beyond belief due to the chilly weather and my lingering cold I got myself to the subway. Only, halfway there I glanced into my bag to make sure my thermos full of tea was not leaking…you guessed it, tea all over my bag. As I am pulling my dripping thermos out of my bag, which is hanging wide open displaying my wallet and iPhone for all the world to see, a teenage boy starts approaching me. I can see the mischief in his eyes. I know he is eyeing the contents of my handbag and taking note of the fact that both of my hands are occupied with a dripping thermos. I look him dead in the eye and say, “I will kill you if you get any closer.” He instantly arcs away from me and practically runs past me. I’m telling you, I am not a morning person. Finally on the subway, all the contents of my handbag securely tucked away, thermos in my hands, I nestled into my spot with my back against the door so I didn’t have to hold onto the germy handrails. I sighed and thought,” I am going to be okay.” Not so fast. This woman decided to finagle herself in between myself and the man who was standing at a comfortable distance away from me. Her long, frizzy hair dangling a centimeter above the lid of my thermos, the exact same lid I hoped to put my mouth on as soon as I got to work. Finally, she got off and I settled into the last leg of my commute, only two stops left. Then BAM! I was hit with an over powering egg smell. I glanced to my right, and there, was a young man eating a huge egg sandwich. My stomach started churning and I felt the overwhelming need to vomit. Thankfully, just as my ability to calm my body into refraining from full-blown rebellion started failing the subway doors opened and I got to exit my little olfactory hell.

I got to the yoga studio where I work, somehow, miraculously, only four minutes late, and instantly felt awful. The sheer state of being awake making me so miserable I do not think I can stand it. I am in the midst of hating life more than anything when I decided to put on some music and start straightening up the yoga blankets. I took down the two piles of 30 blankets and methodically began unfolding and refolding them, one at a time. The repetition of the music and the folding of each blanket into the exact same shape then placing it back on the shelf slowly calms me. I become less and less miserable and simply came into being. No good, bad, tired, awake, grumpy, happy, I simply was. On this cold winter morning, alone with my big, bad self I found stillness, and I dare say peace. The simplicity of doing the task at hand allowed me to get out of my own way. When I stopped thinking and just let myself be, everything was okay. The tea stains in my designer handbag, at least I have a designer handbag to spill tea in. The construction that forced me to go out of my way, a mute point. The kid who wanted to steal my wallet and iPhone, hopefully in school. The woman with bad hair and no boundaries, at work making her co-workers miserable. The guy with the egg sandwich, full after his breakfast. And, it was all in the past. Yes, in the present moment I was tired, achy, sick, and cranky, but deep down none of that mattered. I discovered what the Zen Buddhists have always known, by focusing on the task at hand and being fully present one discovers that things aren’t really that bad. (Let’s not mention the meltdown that took place mid afternoon thanks to being overly tired and sick with a list of ever growing chores that need tending to.)


About djunapassman

I teach yoga, write, and edit. I live in a Brooklyn neighborhood that is changing faster than I can, or care to, keep up with. Manhattan still beckons me to her island a few subways stops away, reminding me of when I lived amongst her daily hustle and bustle.
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