Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Morning Bus-Riding Thoughts

Bus photo from

I think the stress is getting to me, or I'm choosing to be stressed.  Some of both, probably.  I'm too sponge-like for my own good.  I tend to absorb the political angst around me - Republican efforts to dismantle unions, most recently.  It's sad seeing the ranks whipped up to hate and fear their own neighbors, their own public servants.  Meanwhile, corporate leaders preach about how American labor is too expensive, so they'll just move to Ireland.

I'm reading Thich Nhat Hahn's new book, Peace is Every Breath. I so often get seduced into thinking that all my worry-energy is something real, that some real kind of work is going on in my whirring brain.  Meanwhile I don't connect with the people right in front of me (right now, also on the bus, a couple of neighbors, Michelle and Barb, talking abuut cooking some kind of potsticker, or how best to handle tofu).

The sun is veiled with a thin cover of cirrus clouds over the downtown buildings as we pause at Nicollet Mall to do the big bus-rider exchange, letting my neighbors go on to their connecting routes and bringing on new passengers for the University's West Bank or South Minneapolis.  It's unexpectedly cold this morning, an icy wind bringing down the temperature in spite of the sun's efforts to melt the skating rinks on the sidewalks.  I've started leaving my big clunky Sorel® boots at home (handed down from a growing son), as most sidewalks are clear by now.  I'll don them again tomorrow, with yet another snow fall predicted.

Let me pledge to return to awareness of my breath, of my body moving in space, surrounded by other breathing, parka-wrapped mammals.  Let me pause to savor moments of beauty.  Let me pause before speaking, with intention that my words reflect kindness and compassion, not an aim to defend myself.  Let me cultivate hope.  Let me know and express gratitude.  Let me dare to be alive, to try newness, to grow.


Laoch of Chicago said...

Well said.

ellen abbott said...

I have had to stop listening to anything political. it's not that I'm ambivalent, but what those rich bastards are trying to do to this country just makes me sick. the rich are in control and they care not.

Hystery said...

I'm trying to compartmentalize my feelings of rage and bitterness so that I do not slip into despair. Wish me luck. Right now, I only read the news. I choose not to watch it on television (unless it is PBS or the BBC) because I know to do so will only make me feel more helpless. I sign petitions and stay informed as is warranted, but I keep reminding myself to focus on my own particular role. I teach about human rights history. So I'm just going to keep at that and keep hoping.

Leone said...

So many of us are suffering from a sense of despair, even in Canada. The world is in such a state and our leaders are so corrupt they care not for the working people and their struggles. I will have a look at the book you speak of, it may help me to be less angry and bitter at the way things are going. I do try every day to be grateful for what I do have and remember the things that are truly important. Thank you for this post!! Take care.

Anonymous said...

I find myself exceedingly lonely at times these days - ridiculed by friends and acquaintances on the "liberal" side for my faith and a refusal to accept the premise that everyone is entitled to everything, and disparaged on the other hand for an unshakeable conviction that everything counts, and that every, single person in the world is of infinite worth.

So. What to do? A little strategic withdrawal. I literally tossed the tv, and am careful about getting sucked into the ain't-it-awfulness that's abroad in the land, in a thousand guises.

I did start a Lenten discipline that's akin to your "stones" and will be posting about that once my current piece has run its course. It helps to start the day with silence and observation, rather than a check of the latest atrocities from the right and left alike (real or imagined).

Anonymous said...

Just stopping by with a greeting. I hope you have Spring by now!