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Still and Waiting

Whenever I find myself having to sit and wait, such as at the bus stop, I try to let my mind relax. It's a way of connecting to both my inner world (breath, thoughts, rest) and my outer surroundings. Recently, as I waited for a bus to take me back home from a walk in the park, I began to notice the buildings across the street. Usually, I hurry by, walking with my eyes in front of me, trying to avoid running into people who are staring at their phones. So, the luxury of looking closely during those ten minutes seemed very precious to me. I found myself admiring the details of architectural design. The curves at the top of the columns are echoed below, in the round circles at their base, marking the balcony edges lining each window. The fan shapes above the windows represent shells, which in French culture refer to religious iconography, the shell of pilgrimage and safe passage. Dating back to the Middle Ages, now it has become a common element of decoration. I took this photo to remember the experience.

Rest and relaxation have taken on a more frenzied definition these days, at least it appears that way to me. The continual presence of activity in its myriad forms has reduced the amount of attention we give to letting go. When you take time to look around, new information and different perspectives can come into focus. And when you feel the moment deeply, writing a short haiku allows that sensation to linger and last. I wrote this haiku about my bus stop experience:

Eyes rising to see

coquilles Saint-Jacques* calling out -

who is welcome here?

To me, stillness fills my life by expansion, much in the same way that breath opens our lungs and nourishes our bodies, right down to the level of our molecules. Oxygen inhabits us and gives us energy. Likewise, these moments of stillness reenergize me.

*Note: Coquilles Saint-Jacques are scallop shells.

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