Back to Basics

Okay, so do I even bother apologising for my lack of blogging this past year? I mean, I have no excuse. I’ve had loads of time to write, and no shortage of inspiration in this incredible city of London (gah, so many bookshops!). But as a dear friend so aptly put it, I’ve been in my “hermit cave” these last few months. ¬†And that’s where I’ve needed to be.

Bookshop

So many books, so little time … bookworm Heaven!

Part of what drove me to live abroad was a need for silence. So logically, I moved away from the serenity of Canada’s mountains and lakes and threw myself into one of the busiest, most crowded cities in the world. Makes sense. Seriously though, what I needed, what I’m still coming to learn I need, was a much more profound silence. I needed to hear only my own voice because I’d forgotten what it sounded like.

When it comes to the support network in my life, I couldn’t be luckier. I have friends and family encouraging me daily, and offering an ear whenever this hermit cave of mine gets just a little too isolating. What I’m truly realising now though is that I need the time and space and quiet to trust my own decision-making processes, my own intuition, my own heart.

I’ve carved out the time for just ten minutes of meditation every morning, and it’s made more of a difference that I ever could have imagined, not just in my overall peace of mind but also in my ability to focus on whatever is happening in the moment, work included – productivity bonus!

When’s the last time you made some quiet space to really listen to yourself? Get back to basics – turn off your phone, go for a walk, breathe deeply in the moment. Life is short, but life is also very long, and we need to enjoy spending time with that one person who will be with us the entire trip …

Namaste ūüôā

p.s. I really am going to start blogging again. I swear.

Advertisements

London Sunday

The perfect London Sunday stretches infinitely ahead of me as I wake. I greet the Thames, running like a grey ribbon alongside the city underneath low-hung clouds of the same shade. There is vibrancy in the seemingly dull. London is a bright city of grey.

An Americano from Cafe Del Rey, Putney, in hand, I hop on the 22 bus to Piccadilly Circus, earphones bumping with old-school British tunes, to set the mood. It’s a day of immersion in this new home of mine. One hour later, past Fulham, Chelsea, and Hyde Park,¬†it’s on to the Tube, Bakerloo line to Warwick station, which opens up to the gem of Little Venice, a taste of Italy in the middle of London.

Little Venice 1

After a second Americano accompanied by eggs in a diner overlooking the canal, I stroll along said canal, watching painters immortalize the scene, friends chat, and lovers meander.

Little Venice3

Little Venice2

Back on the Bakerloo to Waterloo and the highlight of my London Sunday. But first, a stop at Foyles for some new reading material, two travel memoirs. I’ve always been a voracious reader, but something about this city lights up my inner bookworm to no end. Maybe it’s the thought of all the literati who’ve walked these streets. Armed with my purchases, I make my way to the Southbank Centre for some tea and to wait for the 3:00 p.m. performance of the London Philharmonia Orchestra.

Symphony

As I settle in to immerse myself in the music, I can think of no better way to spend a solitary afternoon, and as I leave the concert, I feel more alive than I have in quite some time.

After a stop at the local Sainsbury’s, I head home to end the day with a cuppa.¬†And I recall Samuel Johnson’s famous quote: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.”

Namaste ūüôā

Rachel

London’s Music

If you see me on the street, I’ll probably be boppin’ along, earbuds in as I go about my day. Most of the time, music enhances my experience of a moment. There’s nothing like hard¬†rock for an adrenaline-infused run, sultry jazz for early-morning coffee or late-night wine, and heart-wrenching classical for¬†a¬†writing session.¬†I’ve even found a site that features music designed to increase focus and productivity, and it works wonders, let me tell you.

Lately though, I’ve been doing some little experiments, and¬†I’m finding¬†there’s a time and a place, a right way and a wrong way, to get lost in music:

“London Music”

Earbuds in I walk,
in time to the music. Meanwhile,
the pulse of the city beats . . .
in time around me, unnoticed.
So I take them out, my earbuds,
take in rain-soaked streets
saturated in vibrant London energy,
And I listen to the music.

When I listen to this music, my awareness is heightened. Scenes play out around me. Snippets of life emerge: excited conversation, a street performer’s song, a mother laughing as she watches her child playing in the leaves,¬†a stranger’s smile when I catch her eye.

This weekend I’m heading to Amsterdam — my first excursion out of England since arriving! Very much looking forward to it, and I fully intend to wander earbud free. Some new music. Stories and pictures to follow next week.

A quiet walk along the Thames in Putney.

Not-so-quiet walk in Waterloo Station. London’s ever-present contrast of peace¬†with¬†chaos, of old with¬†brand new, continues to amaze me.

Namaste ūüôā

Rachel