Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Meditation 71

17 June 2020

"Brush your teeth and just volunteer to stand in line to have your buttons pushed." I spread extra-whitening Sensodyne on my electric toothbrush, push the button and go. I’m careful to brush at the space between tooth and gum, to rest the brush in place over sore spots, to get at the very back of my mouth, where the jaw clenches. The hum would be soothing, were it not so serviceable, like a leaf blower’s muffled song. I rinse out the water, tinged with red, and move on to the floss. The line is not to be crossed but to stand in; I see someone coming toward me with her button-pushing finger out. She’s angry with me, jostles to the head of her line, and jabs me with her index. The exercise is not to react, nor even to smile, but to stand with a soft gaze and breathe up the left nostril, and then the right. The breath makes circles; I’m as delighted as a child whose parent made smoke rings, expanding until they disappeared. Do I even breathe, the child wonders, if nothing’s left but a smudge in the eye, itch in the nostrils? Go to the ocean and breathe it out, a friend advises; the salt heals, but not without a kick. It’s the salt you gargle with when gums hurt. It’s the taste of the spit in your own mouth. I tell the button pusher my name. The name bounces like a button on a rubber mat. Later, I’ll take a closer look. It was an old button, from the days before velcro. Large and metallic, embossed with a cheap seal, I’ll put it in my jewelry box and close the lid.

Anam Thubten, choosing compassion: how to be of benefit in a world that needs our love.


Janet said...

ouch. but does the lid stay closed?

Karen S. said...

Oh! This has a great alt reality feel to it. There's such attention to small bodily details with the brushing, flossing, bleeding, breathing. Love "The name bounces like a button on a rubber mat" through the ending, especially, but really all. Also "The hum would be soothing, were it not so serviceable, like a leaf blower’s muffled song" is a standout line for me.