“When I find myself racing upstairs, usually two steps at a time, I sometimes have the presence of mind to catch myself in mid-frenetic dash. I become conscious of being slightly out of breath, aware that my heart is racing as well as my mind, that the whole of my being in that moment is being driven by some hurried purpose which often even eludes my by the time I’m there.
“When I am able to capture this wave of energy in awareness while I am still at the bottom of the stairs, or starting on my way up, I will sometimes slow my ascent — not just one step at a time, but really slow, maybe one breath cycle per step, reminding myself that there is really no place I have to go and nothing I have to get that can’t wait another moment for the sake of being fully in this one.”
I read a chapter from this book”Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn every now and then before falling asleep. Last night I read this apt excerpt from the chapter “Going Upstairs” and found myself not once, not twice, but three times rushing up a different set of stairs today. At school, I found myself pulsing between meetings, only to slow it down by a fraction long enough to catch my breath. At lunch, again, I was dashing up the stairs of the art building, which I ascend at least a dozen times a day. I took a moment to look out the window and felt each step. And tonight, when the elevator failed, I hauled up the seven flights, with a bit less pep at the ripe hour of 9pm. I heard the delivery man keeping rhythm with me one floor below, his grocery parcels crackling, swishing against his legs. I saw the different colors of the varied light bulbs – yellow incandescent, blue fluorescent, bright white, lights out – on each landing. The bright green tips of new growth winked at me from the window box next to my doorway, where I race in and out of in an oblivion each day. Has this plant really been sprouting new spring growth that I failed to notice? If you have wondered why you haven’t heard from me in a while, I’ve been racing. Time to come back to now.
*Photo from 3-18, impeding dust-storm. This is the time of year Egyptians like to call Khamseen, Arabic for 50, which references the annual dusty winds that rise from north to south each spring over the course of 50 days.