Waiting for the train on the subway platform makes me nervous. Especially if the train is running late, if that space between trains is too long. You can always tell when the train is running late. The platform fills with too many people, most of them anxiously checking their watches, sucking their teeth as they look down the platform into the tunnel, searching for that first flash of light from the incoming train’s headlights.
It always seems to happen on days when I NEED to be at a place on time. The thoughts cycle over and over in mind: The trains needs to be here. I can’t be late. I can’t afford to be late.
Or maybe it happens at all different times and I only notice it when it means a negative consequence for me?
My own anxiety is amplified by the disgusted looks on the faces of my soon-to-be fellow riders. That roll of the eyes. That shifting of weight from the right foot to the left and then back again.
I’ve been trying to use moments like this (and there have been many lately!) as a bell of mindfulness. A reminder to stop and take a breath.
Maybe it helps.
Sometimes my anxiety lessens a bit.
Maybe it helps in another way, though: Maybe it helps to anchor me in that very moment. It doesn’t erase the anxiety. It reminds me that I am experiencing anxious feelings. It reminds me that I am there, standing on the platform. It reminds me to open my eyes and see the other people waiting for the same train, all of us on the platform. Together.
May we all be safe. May we all be healthy. May we all be happy. May we all be at peace.