London City [S]Pace
It was obvious that my return to London was going to be challenging and disruptive to my new sense of Self. As I ran straight into the London pace of life and that non-stop jam-packed diary of ‘to dos’, I found myself only seeing grey – concrete buildings, metal structures, shaded glass walls and empty eyes of people walking around me. As I stood on platforms and in carriages of transport, my body moved in space by unnatural machines that took me away from my connection to the Earth. The loss of connection with the fellow persons around me; I saw their lost souls walking around with holes in their eyes not knowing what they have lost yet chasing fun through additions of work and wine, rather than true joy.
Increased speed, tightened space and the lack of connection with others overwhelmed me. I could not sleep for the noise and confined shapes around me, but most vitally I missed the stars at night – to feel the expansion and connection to the Universe. I felt the loss of connection with my Self. I felt grumpy. My sense of peace and sleep eaten away through the construct of ‘not having enough time’.
Although Central America is a Catholic region, there is something about the Puritanical Christian ethos – to suffer through life to prove your worth of life so that you are allowed into heaven. Performed stoically through ‘busy bees’ of ‘doing’ as though the more deeds done will get us somewhere, I witnessed others around me making their life worthwhile – to have a purpose that will impact the world and give their existence meaning. As though there was a justification for their life. Rather than just living for their deserved joy of experience.
Finding My Self
As I heard others tell me how happy they were ‘doing’ purposeful things (and they are all wonderful things), I felt my ease return. Expansion would spread from my heart across my chest and body; it arose from my unconditional love for them to find their joy. I had no reply. There was no purpose or mission for me anymore. I just wanted to live with joy, feel fulfilled in my experiences and pursue what makes me smile. I wanted to live with full technicolor!
As I walked between busy activities, or stood on platforms I took the time to feel the sense of expansion from my heart. The space would spread through me and I would look around to see the natural beauty dotted about the grey. I sought the trees, the birds and little interactions of humans. I found myself with that small smile, a softening of my gaze as I chose to ‘look through eyes of love’ as we were taught on my yoga teacher training. Eyes of a love for life and joyful experiences.
In the midst my mania, I completed a massage diploma. To witness the nurturing interaction of two people in a massage is a blessing – to give and receive is a gift to both, let alone witness. My mind and emotional state were having fun – the massage course, teaching and seeing friends. However, the nurturing of the massage relaxed my energy levels. Soon the migraines returned and eventually a nose bleed (saved for the highest of special spiritual occasions for Nid!). I knew my spiritual Self was objecting to this abuse of manic activity. Lovely as my activities were, my space, time, peace and Self had been disrupted – lost to the pace and lack of space in London.
Those who insist on their pace, their space, don’t commit to others schedules. It is only your space through stillness and silence that gives you universal time. Through stillness and silence you deepen your connection with your Self. Then from your nurtured Self you can give others. Through space and stillness it brings us closer together, to share presence and witness our own realities alongside one another, yet still as individuals. From this we can live in cities together without losing our minds and worst of all, our souls.
Finding your Self in the City
I loved Sex and the City – those lost women seeking themselves in men. For many year’s I agreed with Carrie that you could never have it all (men, career and home). What all those characters missed was that wherever you are, you can always find the Divine around you as it is within you. As I had fallen into the old trap of overwhelm, that excess of all London offers I had lost my connection with my Self. Part of my 2017 goal is to find my ‘home’ wherever I am, because that peace and divinity resides within me.
In yoga, to ‘walk with God’ is Brahmacharya. For me this means:
- finding the space to feel my own deeper rhythm of life,
- where nature unfolds her beauty to be held as sacred when witnessed.
- Gratitude for the quality of experiences I am blessed with,
- the simple gifts even in mundane tasks, and
- choosing non-excess when there is so much excess on offer.
In the past mindfulness taught me to be present in my body, feel sensations and listen in communication. As I presented in many situations my approach has changed from mindfulness – it leads from the heart. When overwhelmed or stifled try to:
- Breathe into your heart
- Let your heart expand in your chest, melting and warming your chest and shoulders
- Soften your gaze
- Look from your heart
- Feel the love for what you see.
- Be grateful for sharing your space and that moment in time and space
- Let it go when you leave. There is no story. There is no more.