Here’s a thought I’d like to share…
For three and a half hours,
the man in 25 D and I
sit beside each other
and do not speak.
Somewhere, I like to imagine,
is a woman who wishes
that it were she
who got to be the woman
sitting in 25 E. I wonder
what she is doing right now,
perhaps twirling a strand
of her hair and remembering
the way his voice warms
when he says her name.
It occurs to me
that in every seat is a human
who loves and who wants
to be loved. A plane
of lovers, we are,
all of us politely minding
our elbows, traveling
with our seat belts low
and tight across our laps.
And though we’ve never
met before and will likely
never meet again, and though
we may not even speak
to each other as we fly,
just think of it,
all that love moving
across the country
in a dark and a turbulent sky.
by: Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer from Naked for Tea
We really are all in this together.
Recently, I read Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer’s poem “United” at the beginning of a yoga class, and then we sat silently for a bit. In that silence, that space, I became aware of the connection I feel to the people in that room – the man that winces because of a bum knee but is diligent and committed to his practice; the woman that is deaf and waits so patiently for the next movement; the new person that knows no one, and is wondering if she’ll like my teaching; the kind soul that meets my eyes with such compassion it makes me melt a bit; the one tiptoeing in late with a “uh-oh” look on her face; the man that is surprised by his love for yoga, and soaks up every word and every pose; the one that is scared that she won’t be able to do it well enough and holds back because of it.
And it occurred to me, like the passengers on Rosemerry’s plane, the yogis in that room are all traveling together. Everyone is someone “who loves and who wants to be loved.”
As we moved through the poses, I talked about this shared space, this shared energy, this shared caring we have for one another. And we had all this “shared-ness,” not because we all knew each other, we didn’t, but because we were willing to experience the present moment TOGETHER.
Isn’t life like that, a shared experience? Aren’t we all traveling together?
How often I forget that.
How important it feels to remember it.
Since then, I’ve been struck with the notion that, wherever I go, I’m traveling WITH the other people there. At the grocery store, I laughed to myself as I imagined the entire store being like a huge airplane – all the shoppers and workers were the passengers. Once again, I could FEEL the shared journey! I saw a mom smiling into her toddler’s eyes as he asked could he pleeease have a cookie. The child saw me watching him and grinned as he held up the cookie with sprinkles for me to see. A man in a motorized cart was having difficulty reaching the canned green beans he wanted. A woman came up behind him and handed him the can. The man seemed a little embarrassed, but grateful nonetheless. The cashier chatted distractedly with the person ahead of me in line, hardly noticing how hurried the woman seemed.
I kept playing with this idea as I drove through traffic toward home. Yep, I could still feel that sense of being on a ‘separate-but-not-separate’ journey with the people around me. At the light, the young guy in the car next to me nodded his approval of my ’66 Mustang. An old man, walking with his wife, nudged her shoulder playfully, and they laughed about something. They fit together like peanut butter and jelly. The whole experience made me feel more connected, more open. It also made me smile – kind of like I was in on an inside joke. I felt kinder.
In a different way than I had ever known, I could feel that this was the work of cultivating a loving heart. In my yoga studies and mindfulness trainings, I’ve studied Loving-Kindness or Metta, as it’s called in Sanskrit, and I know it is one of the four states of heart that helps alleviate suffering. I just had never seen it so plainly or felt it so matter-of-factly…we are, indeed, fellow travelers on this amazing craft called Earth.
Something shifted for me.
I’m honored to travel this journey with you, dear reader.
And as we travel together, I wish these blessings of Metta:
May all beings be safe.
May all beings be protected from harm – both inner and outer.
May all beings be healthy and strong and well in every way.
May all beings be happy and joyful and know deep peace.
May all beings walk through the world with ease.
Share your thoughts, your stories of connection, and your comments below. I love hearing from you and sharing this journey with you.