Last time I planned a trip, after the airline ticket was purchased, she got called to jury duty. I went anyway.
She had to work after jury duty everyday to make her desserts. She is the pastry chef at Tres Gatos in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood. Let me brag: from a recent Yelp review, "Chocolate flan - omg. To quote my Brasilian friend, "The best flan I've had in the states." The contrast of textures, flavors (well balanced sweetness), and just damn good. Great base of sherry and chocolate, creamy flan, awesome local chocolate Taza tuile (the crisp texture), nice freshness with acid of the huckleberries."
I needed to fill some time, even I can only eat so much dessert. I found a local yoga joint that was offering a FREE meditation session, one morning a week. I am all about the free stuff, so I toodled on down Centre Street to check it out.
Did I say that this particular meditation meeting was at 6:30 am? Did I say that overall I am not a morning person? I am okay in the morning, I just don't talk much for about 30 minutes so SILENT meditation, in a group, could actually work out.
Back to the story.....I arrived to find the meditation leader was trained in MBSR; nice guy, very welcoming, laid-back. He asked me some questions (not too many so I didn't need to talk too much - bonus). There were 6 people there including myself and the leader. We sat in a circle. No cushions but the studio had yoga mats and blankets - make do, no problem. All was going well.
After about 30 minutes of sitting the leader said, "ok, now let's walk for awhile." I'm up and at 'em, I enjoy walking meditation. He went on, "Let's make a circle, try not to cause a traffic jam."
Screeech! What! My mind flew into high gear...."Huh? A TRAFFIC jam? I could cause a TRAFFIC jam? OMG! I probably will cause a TRAFFIC jam." You get the picture, right?
I started out walking in the circle. It was a small circle. There was a lot of room in the studio but we made a small circle. My mind, "What's up with that - people, SPREAD out. I am feeling CROWDED here." I was so distracted by the chatter going on in my mind that I actually stumbled. Literally, I could not walk at an even pace. My mind, "Of course, you will cause a traffic jam, a TRAFFIC pile up is more like it." What to do? Exit stage left...I got right out of that "dumb" circle and started walking "the right way" - in my "normal" way - back and forth, in a straight line - single file - one lane of TRAFFIC. Notice any clinging there? Notice any aversion, any judgment? Did I? NO, not moi.
You would think taking this action would have solved the problem of the racing mind --- NOT! Now, my mind was racing in another direction, "What do the others think of me now? They probably think I am a weirdo. They are probably thinking I am an outsider and can stay that way. Maybe they think, I think I am too good to walk in their little circle. I can't go back to the circle now that I 've left."
Then, as I was standing still, facing the wall - I realized what my mind was doing, taking me out of the moment. Here I was on this nice morning, in this nice studio, with this nice welcoming group, having an absolutely "jammed up" practice, I slowly let it go. I turned, I walked.
The leader called us back to the circle. Of course, I shared what had happened, I couldn't help myself. We all had a good laugh about it. So interesting what one can learn when in TRAFFIC.