The Art of Mindfulness

Ebunoluwa Akinbode - Senegal


September 9, 2017

“If I can be here now, I can be there then.”
-Abby Falick
    Where am I right now? Close your eyes.
    I’m standing in a parking lot. The Meier Stanford dorm stands erect in front of me. Beside me is the massive coach bus that will be transferring my fellow Senegal cohort and I to SFO- the final destination being Dakar, Senegal. But I’m not in Senegal. I’m here standing in a parking lot at Stanford University. The rest will come later.
    Where am I right now? Focus on your breathing.
    I’m sitting in a seat on the coach bus- drifting in and out of much needed delirious sleep. The ride to SFO is about an hour, and I think of the whole airport mess I’ll have to go through, and of what will happen once we arrive in Senegal. But I’m not at the airport, or in Senegal; I’m sitting in a seat on the coach bus. The rest will come as it comes.
    Where am I right now? Listen to the sounds around you.
    I’m sitting in the waiting area of JFK, desperately wishing the clock would zoom past our layover, and just get to the part where I arrive in Senegal. But around me is the chatter of people talking, and the scents of different restaurants lining the airport hallway. The touch of my friends tapping me on the arm, in order to ask if I want to come with them to find something to eat, jolts me back to the present. I am not in Senegal, I am in JFK, and the rest will come when it comes.
    Where am I right now? Pick three sounds that ground you to the present.
    I’m sitting in a slightly uncomfortable basic economy seat on a plane that is 7 hours away from landing in Dakar, Senegal. I think of what the bus ride from Dakar to Thies will be like; what welcome week in Thies will be like; how I’ll feel moving in with me host family after welcome week. My amygdala is overpowering my frontal lobe with irrational fears, so I tell myself: I am on a Boeing airplane owned by Air France, and the rest will unfold itself.
    Where am I right now? Feel the weight of gravity acting on your body, and grounding you to the spot in which you inhabit presently.
    I’m in Senegal, and the rest will work itself out :).


Ebunoluwa Akinbode