Now: The Coffee Shop Complex


As the expression of my thoughts strongly push their way to the forefront of my mind. A bypass in which I have secured all creativity; allowing not the embankment to break and the poetic prose to flow. I am stuck.  I stare at these three sentences, having restarted countless number of posts varying in titles and concepts. Yet I start again. In this present moment. Writing what I know and coming to a conclusion I have desired an answer too since these magical spaces became a truth in my actuality.

Here I sit, closest to the door, each swing awakens in me a breath of life due to the chill that stings my back. Admiring the man in shorts desperately digging through the vinyls so compressed his frame is adapted, as a wall, against their weight. Songs of French ring through the air as the “lady in black” is expressing a devout interest in each word that her counterpart expresses. This understanding shown through strong sense of body language. I admire this moment. The one where my attention is taken from the page to the white brick wall so densely covered with the art of musical geniuses from generations near and far. Headphones hang about the space, inviting in all who share this appreciation of connectivity through song. Each detail implemented to convey that of an old record shop serving contentment through simplicities, smiles, and an excellent cafe creme.

The coffee shop. When the world slows down a bit, and the concept analyzed, one will see the coffee shop is constructed to encourage connectivity among all: a place we find ourselves in others. Here we develop an understanding of the simple pleasures in life.

I have never taken the time to truly analyze my obsession with spending time in this atmosphere. No matter the country, I always find refuge in these spaces. As if they take me back to the pleasant realities of my past, allow me to truly observe, be present, and dream of possibilities of future. Here among these four walls it is encouraged that enlightening conversation be had, while falling into the fantasy of a writer’s mind, or trying to find inspiration to form vital thoughts, comes naturally.

The extensiveness of my manifestations come to play in these moments of gratitude and a desire to continue writing about them. In Bayonne, France I find my reality to be at this present moment. One where if I looked back five years ago the concept of being in a place so filled with art and love, while home being spread from Costa Rica to Kentucky still appears a dream. This space could be placed anywhere in the world, but here I am, taking a moment transpired into an hour to appreciate this fairytale. Where the architecture and art form in itself port me back to a world long ago; while the language spoken around sings of romance and paradox with the constant single tone my American ear has yet to decipher.

I still am in daily awe of the reality that is my life… and in moments of pure discord, I find a sense of being grounded in a space that’s concept is solid in all languages, lifestyles, and through a love of something so simple… coffee.

Now: Mindfulness in Children

14721564_1801597840129204_3415128670002018220_n60 eyes are closed around the room showing respect for self and others. Deep breaths inhaled and as the exhale is released so is a bit of stress from earlier in the morning. Thoughts of love fill the room, a complete shift. Peace. All agitations from earlier are washed away, opening up my core to receiving that love as well.  The innocent are shifting my energy as I stroll among them.

As a teacher we wear many hats. On any given day they may vary from guardian to  guide, cheerleader to caregiver,   nurse to counselor, and comedian to disciplinarian. On those days that I tend to need just a moment, a chance to feel human- all hats are required on deck.

It is 9:00 am-Students and parents alike fill my hemisphere with questions and callings of “Ms. Carolyn” ring in the air just as my computer screen breaks. 5 minutes and counting before 30 students will grace my presences ready to learn about mindfulness and the practice of meditation, and I am the opposite of zen. My ears are ringing with words that at that moment sound of simple noise, my mind is cluttered with how am I going to get the music to play, and my body is racing out the door to meet the students who patiently wait in the hall. My stressfilled smile invites them in and ask that they sit nicely as I run to find another computer… and take the 30 seconds needed to clear my mind.

An open-heart conversation began our practice. Discussing the past, present, and future- using visuals to show how much we miss in life if we are constantly in the past (at Spanish class) or in the future (at snack). We talked about when we are constantly in the present we always get to the future without missing anything along the way. As we talked my own feelings of frustration and “overwelmedness” began to wither away.

Meditation: the act of calming the mind and connecting to the true Self.

Magic: Thirty 1st and 2nd graders sitting quietly fully connecting to self.

The breath, our vital connection to life. Seeing the rainbow rise from the grown to the top of their head and releasing through the front of their body back into the ground. Imagining their balloon filing with air and very slowly deflating as they release all worry from their bodies.

Our last minutes were spent on “Love”. Feeling, thinking, imagining and filling the room with this healing force. That is when it shifted. My hats were removed. All of them. Accept the one of passion where everything I adore and believe came rushing into the space. Where my best practices and most proud teaching came into play and I felt alive.

A circle: the shape of connectivity-oneness.  Hands stacked on top of each other, words of gratitude feel the air, shared compliments to our friends and self while feeling the community build in the room- our closing to a mindful practice.

A closing to the feeling of frustration that welled up within me throughout the morning. An opening to receiving the love that filled the classroom and came from near and far.

And now we entered the new present, and they are off to snack time…