This morning, I saw a woman wearing this shirt. My initial reaction was: huh?
I assumed it to be one of the billions of defective clothing pieces manufactured in Asian sweatshops (oops, letter-press-man misread the English phrase!) that are dumped en masse into vast shopping complexes – much like the Black Market on the outskirts of Ulan Baatar, Mongolia.
But then, I took a second look, read it more carefully and was struck by the phrase, understanding its meaning on many levels. I also realized it spoke to my own predicament.
Nowhere To Run To.
I’d spent the past week (a little more) in Toronto, buried under more piles of paper than I could bear; squatting and shifting through meetings; sifting through more legal jargon than I’ve seen since my law school days. Becoming ever more disillusioned, disappointed, disheartened as the week passed. I was feeling progressively buried under the sheer weight of the matter(s) at hand, the solitude of sorting out the essence from the footnotes. I (seemingly) had no choice; I’m in so deep that I had to dig in and paddle hard. There was nowhere to run.. to.
Or so it would have seemed. But how wrong I was.
Nearly every day, blessed as I am, I had someone to ‘run’ to.
I had my sister’s family the first few days – until they went out of town for the long weekend.
I had A, the very first friend I made when I moved to the city a decade ago. She brought stories galore.
I had F, who brought news of her (third) pregnancy, a healthy appetite and photos of her little boys.
I had S., who one day fed me gluten-free freshly baked bread; then serenaded me another day by ukelele.
I had A, who dropped by with her two-year old daughter, who despite her sunny disposition, who tantrumed about a xylophone that was out of reach, finally making do with the trampoline, markers and a bowl of raspberries.
I had I., a former colleague who regaled me with stories about lightning, flooding and camping during her family’s beach vacation this summer.
I had S & D, both competitive rowers who, though hailing from distinctly disparate eras of my life in this city, bonded over burgers, sports, sacred places and pilgrimage.
I had all of them and more; seeking refuge from my legal maelstrom, I dove into their (our) stories of families, of illness and dysfunction, of joy, death, sadness, work challenges, financial struggles, marital strife and harmony and child-rearing. We discussed food, travel, love, film and labyrinths.
The other side of mayhem had all the makings of sanctuary: I napped, tried out the ukelele, munched on flax bagel, lox & cream cheese; I walked and practiced yoga; I ate well, watched The Blind Side (again!)… and wept.
I was in Toronto, fortunate and grateful to have where – many wheres – To Run To.
Thoughts like to hide out in dark places when we’re under stress or in the midst of overwhelm. But the mind, like an unruly child, can be coaxed into good humor in just those ways you’ve mentioned.
The mind can also be saved’ by good friends, music, food and chocolate!
Can you come to Philly for a visit?
Mindy Shapiro email@example.com
Being involved in the legal system is grueling. I wish for you to be rid of it. In the meantime you clearly know what to do to feed your soul.
Yes, follow my heart…and have faith that the rest will work itself out in the best way possible.
Amit, what a beautiful tribute to your friends and family who provide that wonderful safe haven of camaraderie. Each person instinctively seemed to know what you needed most. Will you be staying in Toronto long or are you heading out on a new adventure? ~Terri
Hi Terri, You’re so right! It all meshed so easily and with so much unspoken support… I’m in Montreal now till the end of the month, then.. back to Bali 😉 I do hope our paths cross sometime soon!!
Hi Amit – I’m in catch-up mode once again and this is over three months ago now but I hope ‘the matters’ are gradually getting sorted out – though legal stuff can be tediously slow. Luckily you had a sanctuary all around you :).