Thoughts From the Subway

This week I’ve taken the train a few times for various appointments.  It feels like the old days.  I was a commuter for 12 years.  But now I work from home and so my train time is very rare now.  But when I do ride, I love to sit, breathe, respond to emails, listen to music or meditate, & feel a connection with all of the faces around me.  I love looking to see what people are reading.  Sometimes you hear what music they’re listening to.  I love seeing what people are wearing.  What they are drawing.  What they are knitting.  Almost always people are alone.  I always wonder if they have a loved one to go home to, if they have a job, or where they are going.  And most of the time I can’t help but wonder why so many people are looking so sad.  They could just be tired and worn out, which New York is known for doing to us.  Or maybe they’re dealing with something crappy.  Or maybe they just don’t know yet how beautiful & meaningful this life can be, even in difficult times.  (I once was in those shoes.)  But every once in awhile I see a soul full of life, full of a sparkle.  Sometimes our eyes will meet.  A small smile and understanding is exchanged and there’s a connection in the great human chain.  I’m thankful for all the good souls that are capable of doing this.  I know it’s a big deal to be able to send some good energy into the world.  And I hope that I can do the same.

Love & gratitude to all of you,


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  1. Punky J April 11, 2012 at 8:59 am - Reply

    Mara, this is one of my most favorite things about New York-riding the train and experiencing all the different kinds of people there is to experience on each ride.

    The last time I was visiting New York, I was on a train and this very rugged and older, but handsome man struck up a conversation with me. Naturally, it started with, "Has anyone ever told you you look like Punky Brewster?" In our conversation, I shared with him that I was visiting from LA and he immediately went off on a very nostalgic bit about his Hollywood days, and nights at the Whiskey A-Go-Go. I smiled and nodded because those days were MY days at the moment. The conversation ended with him telling me, "Nice to talk with you. You're a very pretty girl, with a beautiful smile." And off he went at his stop. It was definitely a very genuine moment between two complete strangers. I don't think I will ever forget it. Not because he complimented me so nicely, but because there was just love and connection there for a second.. between two human beings.

    Needless to say, I can't wait for all the train experiences that are yet to come!

  2. Anonymous April 11, 2012 at 9:30 am - Reply

    What I like to do is to send the "sad people" lots of love and compassion, if they look back at me. Another thing I do, regardless if they look at me or not, is a buddhist exercice. When I enhale, I imagine that I am enhaling their sadness, worries and fatigue (which will be dissolved!!!), when I exhale, I send them my love, compassion and happiness. It feels great!!! There is a pretty phrase which says: " May all your suffering be mine. May all my happiness be yours." People misinterpret it thinking that it means that you will accumulate people's suffering and not have any happiness of your own, but it's not that – you dissolve their suffering and as happiness is infinite (as love too), you can give it away, for you will always have it!

    • Nicole April 11, 2012 at 1:19 pm - Reply


    • Nicole April 11, 2012 at 1:19 pm - Reply


    • Jacy April 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm - Reply

      I agree, this is beautiful!

      Wonderful post Mara! And lovely picture, as always!

  3. jora April 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    Mara, this is so lovely. I am so happy to have found your blog. It is so fresh and real and inspiring. I especially love this post for some reason. Have a great day. xoxo Jora

  4. cecilia April 11, 2012 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    so well-put. i forget who said this after meeting you at ALT (I think it was Sarah Bryden Brown): that someone should bottle your essence and share it liberally. this would work wonders on the train!

  5. Lottie April 11, 2012 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    I know exactly what you mean–it is the same with the underground here so many poeple look tired, stressed and overworked, but I always think a smile helps to brighten up their day, even if it is just a little.

  6. Molly April 11, 2012 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    I actually love public transportation. People around here thing I'm crazy. (We don't have the Subway. Just trains and buses.) But I feel like I'm connected to the community when I'm on public transportation. Driving alone is so isolating. And without fail there is one of those happy people on the bus. Sometimes they are a bit crazy, but happy is happy, and it's nice to see sometimes.

  7. Sara Clifton April 12, 2012 at 12:28 am - Reply

    I was just telling Rusty how much I love the smell of the subway. So nostalgic. I also love being so crowded that I'm forced to touch arms with a stranger. It is a strange connection in this overcrowded, impersonal city where it is so easy to get lost in the anonimity.

  8. Lynley Jill April 12, 2012 at 3:20 am - Reply

    Beautifully said! Sister Dalton talked about "putting your shiny on" at the last General YW Meeting. This post makes me think of that–it's amazing the depth of connection you can have with others, even strangers on a subway, when your heart is in a good place. Thanks for sharing your "shiny" with all of us.

  9. Emily April 12, 2012 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    just wanted to let you know I missed you this morning! it makes me wonder if something's wrong–it's what, the second time(?) since September that you haven't had a post when i awake! (the first time being the wild electronics bag adventure over the holidays)
    Thinking of you all today.

  10. mara April 12, 2012 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    Emily – you are SO sweet! Thanks for the note. I know I normally don't miss my scheduled post time. haha. But yesterday we were a bit more busy than normal as we're working on some upcoming projects. I didn't have a post ready to go yet so I decided I better go to bed. But thank you!! All is well!! Have a great day.

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