We slip easily into routines – our bodies, our reactions, our expressions, what we are pulled toward and that which we resist. And when those routines, of thought or practice or being, are jarred by story or facts or experience, they give us… they give me pause. We become invested in ideas and opinions, and those around us become invested in our having our ideas and opinions. And thus the balance between maintaining consistency and resisting complacency is an especially delicate human dance.
Returning to my college campus for a few consecutive days – the longest stretch since moving out in August – I noticed a few things that worried me, namely how quickly the sharp, tight ball of muscle pain and synaptic strain took up residence once again at the base of my neck. I had returned to attend a few meetings. I thought I was relaxed, and while my time on campus was peppered with joyful visits with dear friends, the lesson is clear: I’m not ready to come back. Go back. To return. And even as sensorily stimulating as the Apple is, especially at this time of year when commercial and residential buildings alike are a’twinkle with veneers of jubilance, I boarded my train home without an ounce of longing. The city will still be there when I return eight and half months from now, and in the meantime, I’ll try to soak up the slower, calmer, smaller pace of the other “wheres” this strange journey will lead me; and in doing so, practice a more meditative everydayness that thickens the proverbial, protective coat that takes years to develop and minutes to wear through without proper care.