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On My Mind

Safe

During savasana, there is meditation, tonight “loving kindness.”

First, we were prompted to generate a sensation of safety in our bodies. The teacher urged us to picture someone or some place where we feel secure and say to ourselves, in brains and in cells, “May I feel safe.”

After that, we worked through “May I feel happy” and “May I experience my life unfolding with ease.”

This kind of stuff is not my jam, as a rule, too woo-woo really, yet the first time we went through these steps in the yin class — months ago now in this year that’s lasted a decade — I found surprise in the meditation. Tears slipped down my cheeks when we were asked to apply these thoughts to someone in our lives who is difficult for us. Oh, Mom.

Turns out I am moved both by loving and by kindness.

Tonight I knew the script and, thus, relaxed into it. A feeling of safety? Not hard to generate as a white woman in a white city. Definitely not hard as a person well matched in steady partnership.

I lay on the living room floor next to him under a blanket I’d draped over us minutes before. He was almost asleep — I could hear his breath shifting — but first: he put his forearm and hand over mine, an anchor.

I felt safe. Side by side, a meditation.

Except.

I’d been on Twitter too much today. And this morning — almost two hours of coverage for that press conference, hair dye streaming down sepulchral cheek, false narrative gasping for life. The unchecked power grab horrified; it just keeps horrifying.

Snoring now, Byron was going nowhere. His forearm weighted my anxiety to the floor. Still, I wished:

May I feel safer.

Please.

And there they were, one to my left, one to my right, snuggling in between Byron and me — four of us in a row now on the rug my parents bought at an auction in the 1970s, back when Mom rubbed my back if my ear ached.

Four of us on the rug — Barack, me, Michelle, and sleeping Byron — together there, each reassuring the next.

I didn’t cry, but I felt love, and I felt kindness. All it took for me to summon the sensation of safety was 21-years of marriage, two yoga mats, four pillows, a hardwood floor, a quilted blanket, a laptop, a gifted teacher, his skin on mine, and the Obamas.

Later, while he made dinner, I unpacked for him, in a five-minute story, all 20 seconds of my personal “May you feel safe.”

Then I asked, “How about for you? I know you were awake for that first bit. What did you think of for safety?”

Just as my response to the prompt told the story of my psyche, so did his. He turned on a burner to reheat the potatoes and said, simply:

“The forest. I’m safe in the forest.”

Grabbing a dish towel, he moved to the oven to pull out the meatballs, his happy life continuing to unfold with ease.


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By Jocelyn

There's this game put out by the American Girl company called "300 Wishes"--I really like playing it because then I get to marvel, "Wow, it's like I'm a real live American girl who has 300 wishes, and that doesn't suck, especially compared to being a dead one with none."

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