It’s not always easy to walk my talk. The truth is that my current situation here in Dallas challenges my own sage advice to replace compressive, destructive, teeth-gnashing tension with sincere and steady shifts in perception. Having missed my 9:30 AM plane out of Newark (the car-rental drop-off was off-campus, which no one had mentioned, and Newark’s “air train” moves slow as molasses), I managed get a stand-by seat at noon and am now in Texas, hoping for another stand-by seat back to Los Angeles.
Discovering that my internet access has no hot spot in this corner of Dallas, I feel robbed of intention. As I wander the long corridor of fast food places, I sense myself losing dimension--dispirited body mirrored by flatness of mind and spirit. I lose articulation, lose rhythm. Wolf Blitzer blares on CNN, vying with the unintelligible PA system as people shout into their cell phones or at their kids, As I stiffen, the world contracts.
Mercifully, talking to my class all weekend about yielding to the ground and opening to surrounding space seems to have driven my own message deeper home. From the depths of my resistance, I manage to realize that what is happening to me is that I’m losing my sense of space. I have to work to get it back.
I extend an imaginary spatial sphere about six feet out around my body. People walk and talk right through it, but ahh, I’m breathing freely again. I can let my bones and fluids spread back out inside my skin. Over and over I recall the weight of my bones, notice and re-notice the color and motion at the periphery of my vision. Curiously, recovering my space restores my confidence that there’s a seat with my name on it.
The thing is, that sphere is not just my imagination. We all have spatial cells within our brains that map our peripersonal space. The space around our bodies is us. So, when you lose patience, when you’re bored, when you find yourself resistant, use that last drop of optimism to restore your sense of personal space. This is my tip of the week for some moment when you, too, might be invited to stand by.