Mind Over Matter in L.A.

It looks to be a warm Saturday in Los Angeles today, which should make for a hell of a day over at Starbucks! It’s going to be frappuccino madness and whipped cream extravaganza. Earlier this morning though, I forgot I was scheduled to work. For a slight second, my time as a barista was lost somewhere, as a part of some other life.

The thing is, for the last few weeks I’ve gotten up early on most mornings for work, and in all the rush and daze of breakfast and showering and running to the bus or the car (because I switch it up), I’ve known quite clearly my purpose for the day. In turn, to get up late this morning and forget that I was scheduled to work at around 1 was to find myself in a gray space.

I was another person, again.

And it was a strange thing, but it was also a great thing, to be lost in the wilderness of not knowing what to make of myself.

It had just dawned on me the other day, as I was speaking to a co-worker: how it’s natural to think of work as work for money, but less natural to think of work as an effort to get away from ourselves. Sometimes it’s both. But for myself, more often than not I think it’s the latter!

Some days, when I get up and head over to Starbucks, I’m just grateful. Not because there’s money to be earned, but because there’s a function to perform there, and that’s all. The function to perform is something other than myself to focus on, and that’s a gift, especially on the days I feel empty.

This morning, then, I guess I felt emptiness again. In the moment I sat up, not knowing where to go or what the agenda for the day was, my body was a temple with all of its materials misplaced. My mind was chilly air inside. Rather than running from the offset temple, though, I held steady, as if to pause and reflect before the great mystery of my being, of my essence.

Everything which has happened up to this point –with work, with friends, and even with J.T.– it has both placed and misplaced me. The great discovery is still waiting for me, which makes everywhere I’ve been and everywhere else I’m supposed to go just one sequence of events out of a myriad of possibilities.

By extension, then, the strange temple is the universe. The mind is the indefinite depth contained by the universe. Today, as I get to spend another day with these things, it doesn’t matter whether it’s at Starbucks, or at home, or anywhere of a dozen other places I can be; today the emptiness is a gift. I choose to make it that.

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J.T.

Born and raised in the Los. Los Cuentos. J.T.

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