My commute home yesterday was a tad stressful. With words like “oligodendroglia” and “exocytosis” still churning through my head after our first neuropsychology exam, I was dismayed to find roads blocked by lines of cars outside of gas stations as drivers prepared for the impending nor’easter, Nemo.
I inched forward in my car and the car’s clock ticked towards 9:00 – I began to wonder why so many people needed gas. I mean, if you’re snowed in, where will you be driving? Maybe they need fuel for their snow blowers, was my ultimate conclusion. As I struggled to suppress the frustration and fatigue welling up inside me, I heard drivers honking, and several angry voices yelling choice four-letter words (in true Boston driver fashion). Apparently there was a car turning into the gas station and people became enraged that said vehicle was trying to “cut” the line.
I just wanted to go home and hug my puppy. Since that goal still seemed at least an hour away, I stopped the car, closed my eyes, and began to breathe deeply. I inhaled the smell of the car and gasoline, I listened to the rising cacophony of voices, I felt the cold steering wheel beneath my fingers. I took a moment of mindfulness to feel the moment – and not judge what was going on around me – or my reaction to the chaos.
Mindfulness is a process that I am still learning to engage, but I have found the premise to be helpful on days when things are nutty at my practicum site. I remind myself to be patient of the processes going on around me as well as within. Although I may be rushing to four meetings in a row, or tracking down the third student to skip testing that day, or rewriting a report for the 6th time, I do my best to stop and find a minute of peace in the madness. An eye of the storm. A moment of stillness in the blizzard. And as for Nemo, I think we found him.