These are some of the things I saw yesterday:
The ocean. Calm, hardly any waves.
A motor boat with an American flag on top, zipping past across the water.
A man asleep on a bench. His belly big and round in a too tight, dirty, light blue t-shirt.
A mural on a wall with bright colors featuring the round and joyful faces of children.
I saw a couple in wedding attire, at 7AM. Posing for photos. Her dress white, she wore flats. Her two attendants wore red. She walked into the dirty public rest room at the beach in her wedding dress. I worried. For her dress. For her future. And I wondered, are they just starting their day? It’s awfully early. Or did they get married yesterday, party all night, and this is why she’s lackadaisical about dragging that dress into a filthy, bathroom? (If you know these bathrooms, the floors are usually covered in a combo of wet dirt and sand). I’ll never know.
I saw a group of about a dozen black bicyclists. They were men and women, so beautiful, and fit, and friendly. A few of them bid me good morning as they sped past and over the intracoastal waterway.
I saw boats in the water. They looked dreamy from far away, but from above on a bridge I could see that was fantasy. They were rusty and beaten up and did not look romantic. There was an industrial feel to them.
I saw a bunch of women taking a Zumba class in the park. A middle-aged man (my age)walked by and referring to the class across the way did a little Zumba dance with a twinkle in his eye as a nod and hello to me as he kept going.
I saw a group of homeless people hanging out, having what seemed like a party. Sitting on a public wall, they were loud, greeting each other. Hugging. One man, or was it a woman? In a tank top, he/she/they released huge plumes of cigarette smoke into the air, social distancing the least of his/her/their concerns.
This was all before 8AM.
As writers we tend to notice things. We hang back and observe. We catch the flicker of sunlight through the tree leaves. We notice the timber of a person’s voice. Many of us keep an active notebook going of little tidbits, gems we pick up on the road to save for later. Writing requires mindfulness.
This act of observation is true of yogis as well, but it is more of an inward focus. When we practice, when we meditate, we do our best to stay in the moment. We tune into our bodies, so we can notice our feelings, our emotions, and not let them have their way with us so much. We practice and practice and we fall down and we blow it, and we get back up and keep coming back to the mat, back to our breath. Noticing. Breathing. Falling. Feeling. Practicing mindfulness, trying to be present.
Where does this emotion land in my body?
What does this scene evoke in me? How can I bring the visceral feeling it gives me to the page so a reader might feel it too?
Writing and yoga both help me process being alive. If I go too long without either, I feel out of sorts.
Both help me find more compassion for myself and for others. For me, they go hand in hand.
This breath in.
This breath out.
If you are inspired to, I hope you will join me in a 4-part Flow Writer series at The Sattva Wisdom Center, starting July 12. Early bird discount ends July 6th. Sign up here.