Retreat and Reflect

Oddly enough, these past couple weeks have slowly been wearing on me. I didn’t realize it at first…I was so caught up in the thrill of a new adventure that I wasn’t listening to my body, my spirit. But as this past week drew to a close, I knew: I need to get away; I need to take some time to myself; I need to embrace the quietness of my surroundings; and, I need to quiet my spirit.

Alas, such a task is much easier said than done. As much as I love this beautiful city, I am not mean to be a city girl. Back home, I’m surrounded by a world that is peaceful and cleansing: beautiful, quiet forests, fog, and the melody of rain. But in the city, I’m surrounded by organized chaos. The constant roar of traffic is likened to the roar of a waterfall. Here, the sound doesn’t ebb and flow; it is constant. Wheels burning across pavement. Motors growling and revving. Horns and car stereos loudly blaring. The sounds of people, living and moving through life, is yet another constant. Talking, laughing, yelling. Walking heavily. Carrying grocery bags or rolling suitcases. I am surrounded by buildings, stories tall; by roads, curving and winding and inescapable; and by people, busy and loud and full of life…and all I want–all I need–is an escape.

It took me some time to feel like I could achieve a sense of inner quiet, especially after realizing how deep I had allowed myself to get without taking a little time out for myself. I had figured that a couple of day-trips to smaller areas would help, and to an extent they did; regardless, I was still surrounded by people and the buzzing energy typical to cities and large towns. Retreating to my bedroom didn’t seem to help much either, since even with earplugs in and the room dimly lit, I could still hear and feel the outside world. I don’t normally consider myself an inflexible person, but when I push myself beyond my means (physically, emotionally, spiritually) I become such a stubborn little bull that begins to mentally charge toward everything that is causing me agitation. Thus, when I found that I had gotten to the point where I wanted to either scream or cry out of my frustration, I knew that I needed to venture inward and listen to the needs of my body and spirit. 

Though a huge part of me wanted to be out exploring new aspects of the city, satisfying my love of experiencing new things and spending time with the people I enjoy, the rest of me said otherwise. Be alone, my spirit said. Enjoy this time to yourself. Rejuvenate. Listening to my body would mean spending the entire weekend at home, kicking back, relaxing, and living quietly to calm my troubled spirit…a small sacrifice for the reward of a quiet spirit. Green tea, yoga, reading, and ambient music drowned out some of the chaos that had been suffocating me. Throw in a couple of evenings with the house entirely to myself and I felt like I was the only human being existing within a 50 mile radius. Life became quiet and peaceful again…I felt like I could breathe.

I’m glad to know that I’m not meant for the city. Living here, however, makes me realize how much the lessons I’ve learned this past year have prepared me for this experience. I’m beginning to realize that especially when living in a city, I’m going to need to incorporate a daily “quiet time” to ground myself. Furthermore, establishing habits in regards to eating, sleeping, yoga/meditation, and the like, will continue to soften the impact of adjusting to living a completely different lifestyle. I can’t afford to regress into old habits of stubbornness; flexibility is key. My promise to myself, for the remainder of this journey: I will continue to be flexible and fluid, a jellyfish embracing the ebb and flow of the tides.

Always remember to breathe.
Always remember to breathe.



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