• Catherine Nasskau

"I am a vessel"

Updated: May 10, 2020

The focus of my mindfulness class this week was facing difficulties. This included a moment where we imagine ourselves as a vessel, like a bowl or holder for all experiences – the pleasant, unpleasant and neutral. Being with a pain in the back at the same time as enjoying the sound of birdsong. This came to mind as I drove up Reigate Hill on Friday, an icy morning. I have a lot of anxiety when driving in snow and ice, and I was aware that my heart started pounding as there was an increasing amount of snow as I drove up the hill, in a rather old car that might not have stopped very firmly on ice.

Not that I advise focusing on one’s breath when driving, but I found myself taking long breaths to calm myself. I then turned a bend and was struck by the bright snow on the trees, glistening in the sunshine. It was a beautiful sight that could have been on a Christmas card. My heart was still pounding with fear and yet at the same time I was enjoying the wonders of nature. “I am a vessel” I said aloud to myself, repeatedly, which helped me be with my fear at the same time as enjoy the view. It also amused me, speaking out loud to myself in a traffic jam! And then I was safely on the top of the hill. Without being able to hold both my fear and pleasure, I might have missed the lovely sight that was all around me.

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