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.

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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