Today I met with a woman named Sally. She bought me a coffee with cream and told me that fifteen years ago, she stopped delivering babies and quit her job at the hospital to open a cafe, because sitting and talking and warming your hands over tea are the kinds of things that really heal you. She told me that there is a space that opens wide between an event, and a reaction.
"You can feel the space, if you try," she told me. She pressed her index fingers together, and then slowly moved them apart. "An event: the child throwing hot lasagna on the floor and then crying about having an empty plate. And the reaction: yelling at the child, and tossing their tray into the sink with anger in your heart. There is a space. Within that space, that moment, is the possibility for stillness. For mindfulness. For heartedness."
I nodded, and took a drink from my mug. It reminded me of the ashram. Of the inner ocean. How quickly we forget. How easy it is to smash your index fingers back together and move swiftly from event, into reaction, into reaction, tumbling forward on a landslide of tangled emotions.
Here, I breathe. I can feel the space opening wider.