Know Yourself, Listen Carefully

What do you know about now that you wish you had leaned sooner, I asked?  I can tell you, answered a stranger. But if you’re even asking, you’re doing just fine.

We were both on a packed LIRR train coming back the beach after a forth of July holiday.  Some unfolded beach chairs and lounged in the ailes to make extra seats.  Others parked near the doors  on coolers and leaning on bikes.  If the AC was on, there was still enough heat to make the sweat drip down in between the flat part of my chest.  And then, as if the crowd and the heat weren’t enough, the train slowed to a halt in between stations and stayed there for the better half of the afternoon.

Our knees were nearly touching. We sat face to face.  Her hands lay comfortably in her lap and though we had been sitting on the tracks for almost thirty minutes already, she showed no sign of aggravation.

Her trip had been an annual visit with five other women from high school; an tradition they kept alive some thirty years after graduation.  The host of their retreat had grown wealthy from years of running her own business but had also grown bossy and used to getting her way.  And so, while the setting was lavish, the company had been grueling.

Her son lived far away from their hometown but without much purpose, at least as far as she could tell.  In the same breath she described her peaceful house set in the forest, away from stress and other people.  Laughing, she realized that her son’s choices in life were a lot like her own.

So when I asked her to give me some advice on ways to ease emotional distress, I was pleased to find that she had answers.  Fish Oil pills and Dr. Weil’s muti-vitamins were easy enough to find.  But google searches about the chakras revealed little more than line drawings of the human body segmented by glowing colored balls.

A class with a yoga teacher and friend of mine since childhood gave me my explanation.  Laid out on my mat after an hour of stretching I closed my eyes for relaxation. Diana came around with fresh smelling ointments on the tips of her fingers to massage my temples and give the sides of my hair a slight and pleasant tug.  When the pad of her pointer fingers touched the center of my forehead, I heard an inner voice say the word: knowledge.

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