Sit quietly she says. “Begin by doing nothing. Quiet your body and your mind. Breathe steadily. Inhale, exhale. No rush, no place to go, nothing else to do.” Ha. Sit quietly she says.
The minute I try, the hornets in my head start stirring – buzz – you are wasting time – buzz – you have so much to do – buzz – tick, tock, tick, tock – buzz – the sand in the hourglass is pulling downward – buzz – time, time, time, not enough time – buzz, buzz, buzz.
It does make me remember a car trip with my grandparents though. This was back in the day when seatbelts were never used, but car manufacturers had started putting alarms in the vehicle that indicated when the seat belts weren’t fastened. The way around it was to fasten them and then stuff them in the crack of the seat so they would be out of the way. I was in the backseat, unbelted of course, and I started fiddling with the seatbelt in the crack. I unfastened it and the horrible buzzing alarm went off. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get it refastened. I don’t remember if my Papa stopped the car and tried to fix it. I just remember that at the time it wasn’t fixable and we had to ride the rest of the way home with that SOUND. I ended up in tears, curled up on the floorboard of the back seat, with my hands over my ears, so ashamed of myself. I also remember how infinitely patient and gracious my Grandma and Papa were. Even today I can still feel that kernel of graciousness, like a soft nubbin of comfort under the ribcage of my chest. A place of safety in the midst of the buzzing.