Longing in Life

Yesterday, I put on my 10 layers of clothing to go out and brave the unusually cold London weather. I walked to the Tube with my head down, as the wind hit my face. I felt an ache in my heart. I followed the motions of the commuters.
Quick. Efficient. Linear.
This did not match my body’s experience, and quite honestly, it didn’t feel good. But this is mid-week, London life, you adapt.
I got on the train. Holding onto the bar, shoved smack dab in the middle and completely surrounded. I was still feeling the ache. Clearly, I couldn’t break out into movement on the Tube, during rush hour.
I could have easily shut this feeling down. What do I do with it when my surroundings don’t immediately support it? My mind was busily telling me, “Save it for later. Now is not the time. Don’t make a big deal of it.” Sentences I heard growing up. I was hastily trying to figure out what I was longing for, so it made sense, and I could quiet my mind, but I couldn’t find it…I just had this ache.
It was warm, fluid and needed to move. So surrounded by others, I decided to practice what I preach and long right then and there. I wanted to learn what it feels like to long in life, to give space to a precious, but common experience that doesn’t only come up in the comfort of our own homes.
This sensation, that was held tightly in my chest by contracted ribs and short breath, needed to move. I took a breath. And it felt a bit risky. Exposed. Raw. So I took another breath and another one. And then, I followed the MOVEMENTS I FELT INSIDE MY BODY. Movements that are there and happening all the time, if we allow them. I felt the warmth spread down to my toes, out to my fingers, through my back. I felt my chest expand. I felt my face relax and my shoulders let go.
And that was it. Nothing earth-shattering happened. No grand transformation. I just allowed myself to LONG in real time. And in this way, I wasn’t forcing back a part of myself for later, when it was “more convenient.” and oddly, it felt quite natural…because it was…for my body.
Learning to move from our hearts in real time is challenging. We associate it with danger or risk, and wait until our surroundings support it. But part of our struggle, as feeling people, is that every time we disconnect, postpone our hearts and save our longing for later, it’s lonely. And then we have to figure out how to reconnect. And we spend much of our time in this dynamic.
To feel and allow can be simple. No drama. Just the body, awareness and a bit of courage. I guess it’s the basics of being human. And oddly, this takes practice.
So today, I wish you moments where you practice pure longing and yearning. and maybe a few moments tomorrow. And even the next day…
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