“I was thinking about comfort—how we comfort ourselves,” I said to a friend over Saturday morning coffee. “Small things. A favorite sweater. Comfort food. Friends.”
“Does it work?” she asked.
“A little. For a moment.”
Our talk had veered, as it often does, toward the perilous state of the world, each of us relating things we’d read in various news sources. I’d also been talking about difficulties at work and how I was starting to feel burned out from dealing with it all.
Small comforts. A silk scarf that once belonged to my friend Fran; a soft, warm Alpaca scarf that Mary gave me; colorful, dangly earrings from Trish; a pair of blue earrings that my sister and I chose together at a crafts gallery near her home in England. Each time I look in the mirror or touch the earrings or scarf, my friends and sister are with me.
Or I’ll wear a sweater that I knit one long cold winter, my only successful attempt at knitting a garment for myself. Whenever I wear it, I think of my mother who taught me to knit. The sweaters and afghans she made warmed us for years—one of her afghans still does wrap me on winter evenings.
Comfort. Taking care. Resting. Coming to center. This week, I committed to spending time writing in the morning rather than dropping immediately into news and Facebook. To honor this I’m sitting at the dining table, looking out at the chilly winter landscape rather than sprawling on my couch as I do most mornings. I pause frequently, staring out at trees, sun, blue sky—nothing moving, no breeze, no birds for this moment although they’ll come eventually. Still. Quiet.
My posture shifts. Elbows rest on the table, hands clasp together, chin rests on hands. I’m not religious but there’s comfort in this posture that’s old and familiar.
Tomorrow, I’ll meet my friend again for another Saturday morning coffee date. We’re both walking through our days with anger, frustration, fear simmering just below the surface and these feelings will bubble into the conversation. But we’ll also check in, buoy each other up.
I might say that crocuses are starting to poke through the leaf mold in front of the house. Or describe the snow castle that neighborhood kids sculpted out of the dirty pile of snow on the corner. I’ll tell her about the guided meditation we followed in the meditation group last Sunday, one of Tara Brach’s meditations for quieting the mind, the suggestion to “Make yourself at home in the flow of the present moment.”
The flow of the present moment. We breathe in, breathe out, let go, keep going.