Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Slow Down

It is only when you slow down that you can take a moment to see the beauty around you. It's only then that you can see the boats as you run along the water, feel the magnificent air on your sweaty face, or see the thousands of other humans doing the same around you.

In a city so crowded as this one but even more, in a world so vast, the ability to block out everything around us is uncanny. Why do I say us when I mean me? Good question. I mean me. I do mean me. My ability, that of my very own. This unbelievable and absurd ability I've honed to block out everything around me and yet, only somehow absorb everyone else's joy but my own. What a strange oxymoronical irony, I know.

But here I sit. And here I am. Just little, too little, old me. And now here I am.

Sometimes you have to strip away the old to make room for the new. That's the old saying, right, the old adage, the eye-roll-inducing line. But no, don't roll your eyes. 

I rolled my eyes, too. I understand. I rolled my eyes so far back into my head at this very thought for so long I think I lost them back there. But not anymore. The universe is quite a place, full of distractions, treadmills, juices, diets... all of that. It is such a strange and crowded place. But I think maybe and only maybe, that the universe is also a place of authenticity and one that just might look out for you once in a while. 

I was never one for signs. Probably still am not. But I do know where I was just a few months ago... and I know where I am now. I was crippled by my possessions. Unable to move in my apartment, my brain.  I had no room for anything else. Possessions, more possessions, I just couldn't seem to reach the end of them. There were always more to be had. That, and that, and another one of that, wait that too, and more of those and that too! Until -- no, there is no room left here. I have no room on this sidewalk in the realm of my personal street, the sidewalk of possessions is ending. And I must stop. And then, just like that, I did.

All the running, the physical running, the treadmills and Nikes, the fast-paced speed of life, relentless denial of feeling and reality So much speed. Running away from anything real. Running and buying and possessing and more possessing. I honestly don't know where it ended and where it began. But what was it all for? For what exactly? Joy? No. Fulfillment? None. So many things only crowd an already-crowded soul. And a soul should have the space to breathe. Mine did not. 

So I decided to let go of some of the crap weighing down my heart and my mind. And my little old self. It was just too much to hold up, my muscles aren't that strong and so I am letting it go.  And now that I stripped (and am still stripping as we speak) it all away, here in this moment, stripped away the bags, the make-up, jewelry, the job, now what is left? What remains here in this little spot on the eleventh floor of the world? All that remain here now is me, little old me. Little old me with less stuff but even less inside. For now. 

The thing is, this is the way it needs to be. I needed to come to this place, to get here, to finally land in this spot of simplicity, realness, and truth. Somehow I had to be forced to be able to see clearly enough to KNOW I had to stand in my own truth. And I was. 

Me, my journey to get here, to both the end and the beginning, it somehow began without my even knowing. right here, in my own heart, my own very little body and in my own city, my journey started itself. It didn't tell me but I am grateful that it did. 

The thing is, there are so many distractions and ways to escape, to numb the sobering realities of the mundane roteness of everyday life. I know all of them all too well. But when you turn off the TV and pull out the headphones, you can allow yourself to just be. Take the breath. Force yourself to feel your regular stomach expand when you breathe deeply. When you slow down and take a breath, take an authentic, long, unrushed breath, it is then and only then when you can begin to heal.

Me, I'm just starting to breathe. I'm a grown-up, three decades and more under my belt and I am only just learning to breathe like the worthy person I am. I deserve to take in the world. It is a beautiful place but only now can I see that, with the time and willingness to see it.

And even though I am just now starting, I feel fortunate to have found the key to unlock that horrible big black door about which I have previously written. That ominous and threatening padlocked door I once saw clouding all my sun. The thing is, I still see it, it's right there right now, so tall and hard to open. But the key is dangling here on my pinky finger... and at least there's that. 

Perhaps it was not me who found the key. Probably not. In fact, I know not. Maybe like I posited before, the universe does sometimes send us a sign. And I think maybe this was my sign. This moment in time, this beautiful summer and peaceful stretch. It is all so new to me. But i do think we all must learn to listen to our own cues when we hear them. Unclog your ears and your mind enough to be open to receive them. Like I am doing now. Or, well, at least try to.

Because I believe I am living through my sign. I didn't seek it out but it happened anyway. Slow down and stop running, it said. Stop running physically and stop running emotionally. stop running away and sucking it all in and just take the damn breath. It's time to just take the breath. Feel the pain. Cry the tears. All of those. Because all those things -- those are things that are real. Bags and jewelry, beauty and fakery,,, those are things that are not real. 

So here I am again, and here I am now. Slowing. Down. Right here, in the confines of my own space, my own place and my own city. I am slowing down in life and taking it all in. The good, what little of it I am finding these days but taking it in all the same, the less-than-good, and all that comes along with it.

And that, well, that is all just okay for me.