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Jumping the Freight Trains

Today's story is dedicated to my good friend Austin. I moved from Boston to Austin my freshman year of high school and of course had no friends here. On the very first day I made friends with the people who remain my best friends to this day, and I consider that to be perhaps the most fortunate event of my life.

One of those friends is Austin. Now in the military flying whirly-copters, he used to be the one guy (well, actually I could pretty much always count on Terry too) who would always be in for a crazy plan.

This scheme fell right into our laps.

Mindfulness and the Choo-Choo Train

On Tao of Mal

One day after a long and boring day of teaching regents prep, I picked my daughter up from her school. She as always was happy so see me. She wanted to go on the “choo choo train” which in adult terms is called the subway. She loves being on the subway, she loves to stare out the window when we cross bridges look at all the people (especially those guys who do the break dancing) and most of all she loves to watch as the trains pull in and out of the station. Sometimes we just stay in the station and watch the trains.

On this particular day I had no desire to go on the train. I just wanted to go home. I was stressed about getting my disinterested and under prepared students to pass the regents. After a little nudging by my daughter, I decided it wouldn’t be so bad to take the train for a couple of stops and then turn right around. We got to the train station and it was busy with rush hour traffic. My stress and not wanting to go was now turning into annoyance and frustration. As we were getting on the train some guy lightly bumped my daughter, without saying excuse me. I was now rounding third base and heading straight to anger!!

But then instead of letting it all get to me, I took a couple of deep breathes, then felt inside my body, I just let the feeling of anger be, without attaching thought to it. In a matter of minutes I felt calm, serene and revitalized. All of a sudden the smile on my daughters face was the only thing on my mind. The “Q” train went above ground and we both just chilled and watched life as it unfolded moment by moment. By the time we got home I felt great. I had gotten rid of my anger, felt calm, took in some Brooklyn culture and best of all had a wonderful time with my daughter.

I have read a lot of books about mindfulness and I don’t know if I will ever get to the point that some of these guys talk about, but if a few breaths and a little inner body emotional awareness can take my mind off a few things and help me enjoy an afternoon with my daughter, then hey, i’ll take that everyday of the week.

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