Thursday, May 26, 2011

Midwest Tornadoes Hit Home

I'm on the bus last night, coming home from my yoga teacher training core class. It's fairly late, around 9:30 pm, and so some of the people getting on are clearly intoxicated, high, or just plain wound up. This includes a woman sitting in the back, loudly talking on her phone, first to her son, and later to her mother in law.

Felt myself getting irritated. There's no where to go inside of a bus; the intimacy of the space is palpable at times like this.

At one point, she turns to a guy sitting next to her and they start up a conversation. "I've been drinking. I just called my baby. How are you doing baby?" Everyone is "baby" to her apparently.

The tone of her voice swerves from strong to sweet to totally grief ridden and back again.

I'm sitting there thinking "I just want to be home. Have some peace and quiet."

Then she says it. "The tornado destroyed my apartment building!" There's no doubt everyone on that bus heard it. I certainly heard it. It ripped right through me.

As she told the story of being in a basement, listening to people screaming nearby, the tornado closing in on them, all of my thoughts about home and quiet took on a new meaning.

I began wishing the woman well, wondering how the son she spoke to on the phone was doing.

And then I noticed how she kept repeating the story. How the mind keeps going on the territory of trauma, as if in doing so, we can locate what's necessary to heal.

What had been just an irritatingly loud conversation suddenly became dharma.

It's right there under our nose, all the time.


Jomon said...

Thank you for loading us on that bus too!

Katherine said...

Yes, the dharma talk is everywhere Nathan. Thank you for sharing this story. Wishing peace and well-being to all who are suffering.

Craig said...

That's a great story and reminds me to be more compassionate with strangers. I travel on public transit a lot and find it a very intimate place. One time at a subway stop there were a bunch of people on the platform waiting for the next train, and I had this flash of "These people are my village. Right now for these few moments this is my community, and how I relate to each person is super important. It's subtle, but every encounter we have has an impact.