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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

Coffee or Tea?

Sometimes, I dip a toe into the pool of despair. It’s usually because of world events, or because I realize someone whom I thought I knew is racist, or because someone treats someone I care about badly. Or it’s because I fear I’ll never knit together a community here in Virginia – due to the persistent and looming threat of COVID. Or I realize that it’s the 9th anniversary of my friend Jeanette’s passing.

On Friday, Andrea and I went to a brewery opening. You had to make a reservation since places are open but at 50% capacity during phase 2 reopening. We sat, appropriately socially distanced from other patrons, and listened to the hum of conversation.

“Listen….to all the people!” Andrea breathed.

I laughed, “My mom once said some shit like this to us and we laughed. Now we understand.”

Sunday was International Day of Yoga and I attended an outdoor class held on an old, wooden trestle bridge. Sunlight filtered through the leaves on the trees and I was thankful to have laid my mat on the side of the bridge that remained shady throughout the class. Yoga is, or can be, a workout, a meditative exercise, a collective setting of positive intentions sent into the universe. The class ended with the instructor leading us through a sort of mash up of the Metta Meditation. I’ve written about Metta Mediation in the past – back in the olden days when I blogged on LiveJournal.

The meditation itself goes like this…

May I be free from danger; May I have mental happiness; May I have physical happiness; May I have ease of well-being

Then you repeat the meditation, sending well wishes to a friend. Then you repeat it again, sending well wishes to a neutral person. Lastly, you send the well wishes to a person with whom you’ve had conflict. An enemy. Yep. You read that right. When I first learned this meditation, I could not help but feel this zen shit had gone too far and that I’d been duped. AN ENEMY?! UGH. So of course the mash up included that part.

“Dammit.” I thought and then immediately thought of Donald Trump. I’ve not personally had conflict with Donald Trump but he’s done some shitacular stuff that has hurt groups of people I care about. Truth be told, me thinking of Donald is a cop out. It softens the blow of thinking of a real, live person that I’ve had a conflict with so I make myself do just that. I think of the person from New Mexico whom I had conflict with. That person has logged onto my blog, this very space, over a dozen times since that conflict. I see you. What are you looking for? Absolution? Peace? Proof? Whatever it is, I hope you find it along with freedom from danger, mental happiness, physical happiness and ease of well-being.

On Sunday, as I lie on my mat, I realize it’s not exactly the presence of easily accessible friends that I’ve missed, but rather, this communion.

Misery loves company in the sense that I know other people have dipped their toe in the pool of despair. People wage war on Facebook – there are casualties. I post something benign – my new coffee and tea corner at our home. 165 people like it. Truth be told, it’s not that spectacular but people seem happy to see something on Facebook that isn’t controversial. At last! Coffee or tea?! Something for everyone. Something we all can agree on.

Things like yoga, running, writing, reading, podcasts, harvesting twin radishes I grew myself, tea or coffee, constructing a coop, looking at the New York Times bestseller list (non-fiction) - - these all help me slide my toe out of the pool of despair. What helps you?

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