Today’s meditation asked me to keep my eyes open during the session, so I decided to do it while walking. The teacher asked me to focus first on one thing, and only that one thing for a few moments. If thoughts entered my mind, let them come in, but I didn’t have to do anything about the thoughts. When you consider what I’ve been consumed with these last few days, this felt like blessed kindness.
At first, I focused on this tree.
I noticed the textures, the colours of the textures, and how the colours plus the unexpected yet very welcome chill in the air is signifying the time of the year when everything slows down. We all cool off.
And in that moment, that’s when I decided that I needed to cool off. To be present in the moment, to not make myself so crazy trying to fix things, or prove my worth, or to hurry things along because I’m painfully aware of running out of time. All of those things can be true at exactly the same time, and I don’t have to care about, or do anything about them. I can simply be.
In moments like this (usually when I’m stoned out of my gourd), I feel more connected to the world around me, and the frayed tethers that keep my attention focused south feel a little less…binding. I flex my fingers and toes, feel the nerve endings come to life, and feel my place in the node of this global energy grid. And rather than being overwhelmed by that thought like I usually am, I felt…peaceful. Held. Loved. Not by the person I’ve been so fixated on, but on myself and the world around me. The things I could see. And in expanding my vision to invite in the things that I could not see, I made room for them.
I’m a nervous walker. I never was before I had my knee surgery. I walked strong and proud, with a long, confident stride, my head held high. Since my knee replacement — more than 10 years ago now — I don’t walk as confidently. I’ve even had to start using a cane again, because I think the knee replacement is wearing out, and I can’t bear the thought of yet another surgery.
When I walk around this part of town, the condition of the sidewalks have a me ranting (quietly, in my head) within a matter of minutes. The sidewalks in this part of my neighbourhood buckle because of trees that have lined the same street for more than a century. They’re the original unwelcome neighbours, making hazards for anyone with a slightly unsteady gait, and heaven help you if you use a wheelchair or any assistive device. The street has been traffic calmed, a fantastic improvement for anyone on a bicycle, but young men on bicycles seem to think that they will always be young and will always be able to dart around someone who isn’t as mobile.
These young men are usually right, but in my nervous mind, they’re wrong. They’re not only wrong, but they’re also inconsiderate. And if it isn’t for the cyclists, it’s the fucking couples who walk two abreast on the sidewalk. I always stand aside to give them more room, because that’s what a person is supposed to do. Yet whenever I pull to the side and give way to them, I hate myself just a little bit more.
I deserve to stand my ground. I deserve to feel safe. But I also don’t want to make a fuss, or to have anyone notice me in any way at all.
I think we could all agree that this is ever so slightly mad.
I wondered why I felt so sure that people weren’t thinking about me and giving me enough space on the sidewalk. Had I ever fallen because someone got in my way? Had there ever been an incident where I almost got tangled up in a dog’s leash, or if I tripped because a kid ran out in front of me? I was surprised to find out that I couldn’t think of a single incident. I’d been projecting anger and anxiety all along, but the other people on the sidewalk could see me, and they felt confident that there was enough room for all of us on this sidewalk.
I am a part of the whole. I don’t (always) need drastic accommodation, sometimes I just need to know that I fit just fine, and the worst that could happen is that I stumble, and someone has to help me get up.
Immediately after coming to the realization that yes, there really is enough room for me in the world, I noticed that there are actual fucking grapevines that are producing grapes not three blocks from my apartment.
There’s beauty everywhere. All I have to do is accept that there’s enough room for us all to share it.