Zillions of books, articles, songs, and poems have been spawned from the beauty and mayhem of this geographical point.
What is so striking (and daunting) about this place is the stringent acute nature of each day. Each minute, really. No matter who you are, or how high up you’ve climbed on the ladder of your choosing, something here is passing you by.
We are at once a culture of hustle and hurry up, and of such tragic flaws as tiredness and pathological self-criticism.
Hustle. We keep on with a constant, startled pace. Keep going. Keep working. Keep climbing. Keep on.
It can be magic- the rhythm to which it all happens. There is idea, adaptation, production. A ceaseless cycle.
I guess I would consider myself a ‘New Yorker’ (as in ‘a legitimate resident of the city,’ and a loaded label at that) but only because I have deftly learned the human bob and weave of subway rush hour. And to duck and cover beneath the tumult of collective stress and projectile emotion constantly being flung in the full compass of directions.
We currently tout rest and ‘zen’ as necessities, but find excuse after excuse to not fit them into our Google calendars.
If we were a dictatorship and I was in office, I would demand that every New Yorker participate in mandatory, daily, guided meditation (or naps- whichever you prefer).
Balance (a buzzword) is often talked of, but attained by few. But balance, like the city itself is a shifting entity. It requires constant re-evaluation, re-calibration, and movement. In theory, it fits into the cycle. But most of us simply don’t allow for it.
This, to the point that when we are finally presented with some time… and some space… we discover that we know not what to do with such a thing!
On goes the Netflix. Opened is the Candy Crush app. Zoned is the brain. The last few decades have spawned the duplicitous gift of technology, allowing a new skill to emerge: simulated detachment. A disconnect while remaining connected.
And we need it, right?
After all that hustle, we are much too far gone to be able to ‘float’ solo.
We need a life raft.
And it makes me wonder- is there some way to use that life raft as a transitional vehicle?
Is there some way to doggy-paddle from that mindless, neutrally-stimulating activity to a place of simple quiet?
In the land of efficiency, time-management, and wi-fi hot spots, will we ever be able to float solo again?
- I’m asking for a wristwatch for Christmas. I haven’t worn one since before I owned a smartphone. I check my phone multiple times a day to see the time… and then end up checking it multiple times more, because the first time, a ‘notification’ distracted me…. (You know exactly what I’m taking about…. You’ve totally been there).
- A few nights a week, as “wind-down time,” – like a five-year-old– I try to distract/entertain myself with some other activity (usually menial tasks, or Harry Potter-like fiction reading) before resorting to TV. Albeit on certain days… a Netflix binge is the only thing that works, but it’s the attempt that counts.
- Yoga. It’s the ultimate transitional vehicle to finding the ‘free float.’ Thinking about the alignment of my spine and the placement of my pinky toe so greatly focuses my mind, that finding peace and quiet at the end of practice becomes somewhat effortless.
- Even if it is only for 5 or 10 minutes a day- I try to sit in silence with my eyes closed… lazy meditation… Sometimes a losing battle. But often nice.