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“Go placidly amid the noise and haste…”

She has become a familiar and welcome presence during our virtual Mindful Self Compassion Circles of Support, and with this being mid-summer peak holiday time, she happened to be the only one in attendance during our scheduled session. And she was on the move, joining from her seat on a train as she travelled from home to her holiday destination. There were delays and scheduling complications, she explained. But when the appointed hour came, she had taken her seat, put in her head phones and thought, what better thing to do for myself than to log into our support circle. And so there we were. I began first with a Breathing Meditation followed by a Loving Kindness practice, and I included customized refinements just for her. As the guidance unfolded, I marvelled at her serenity. She was sitting calmly with her eyes closed, tuning inwards as she immersed into the practice; the obvious movement of the harried passengers swirling around her and the apparent movement of the train jolting as it pulled into and out of stations along the way. Wouldn’t it be neat to be on speaker phone, I smiled to myself, offering the entire carriage a moment to pause, breathe and centre? But this was meant to be a moment for her and I, an opportunity to connect real time across lands and an ocean, to together practice coming to stillness and to practice coming into being.

And I was reminded of how there are times when I too intentionally pause, breathe and do my best to be amidst the surround sound of others, life and the world. Our heavenly yoga classes end with a lengthy and delicious Savasana, the sounding of OM, and the Namaste acknowledgement to our gracious teacher and to one another. And as the bell signifying the end of the class sounds, I deliberately continue to close my eyes, hold my seat, and as best I can, savour the experience that has been. I am very much aware of and sensitive to the energy rising, volume loudening and pace quickening, as the other participants quickly leap up, begin chatting loudly, walking heavily and noisily pack up to go. And when I can sense that most have left and all has subsided, it is then that I slowly begin to transition. I open my eyes, consciously arise, carefully clean my mat, pause to gaze at the beautiful view and gently bid farewell to our leader. I slowly move out of the space and into the world. I take the scenic route home. For as long as possible, I appreciate the gifts I have received and the sense of wellbeing that I am experiencing. The world can await a little while longer for my arrival.


“Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence…”

by Max Ehrmann

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