Every morning I take the subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan to go to work. My ride starts on the platform above.
After a couple stops, the train goes underground. The tunnel looks like this:
Now, mind you, inside the train it’s bright and well-lit, but a bunker-like atmosphere settles into the train car. As I’ve talked to friends and clients, I’ve noticed how everyone has different sensibilities and sensitivities riding the NYC subway: some react to smells, others are nervous about germs, some can’t stand being close to people and others are overwhelmed with all the different energies of people swirling about. When I feel the atmospheric shift in the subway car and a constriction in my body, I send a thread of awareness through the tunnel and out to the beach of Coney Island, where the train terminates in Brooklyn. In my body and in my mind’s eye it feels and looks something like this:
I will feel an immediate relief, sensing the open sky and the lively waters of the ocean pouring out onto the beach.
Then I send another thread of awareness to the other end of the line, Queens-bound, to the outdoor tracks in Astoria. It looks like this:
Feeling that I am on a ride that is bookended by outdoor space and wide sky, I feel myself settle, become calmer and I breathe more easily. If I lose the threads, I send them again. At last I will arrive at my stop and go upstairs and reunite with the outdoors.