One of the best feelings ever is being able to do things one at a time. This is a massive luxury in the city. I’m lucky to be able to go to yoga class where, for 60 minutes, I can get this feeling 5 days a week. I’m lucky to have learnt and to be able to simplify my life. But most of us in the city are not so lucky!
This question really goes out to all of us city-dwellers: What’s the best way to cope??
Here’s why I say “cope”:
The city makes me feel like a square. I don’t stay out late at the weekend, I prefer getting up early. I don’t get drunk (apart from maybe twice a year), and now I’ve gone and given up coffee so all trendy coffee-shops are no-go for me…*weeps*
I’m not much of a consumerist, and I’m not living a career-oriented life. Instead I crave the sea, I crave the hills, I crave walks in the woods and surf to ride and animals to play with. I notice that I don’t really feel connected to most of the people around me, nor to the pace of life here, nor to the love/desperate need of money, or just the massive amounts of stuff we’re constantly encouraged to buy. Despite being a city girl born and raised, it drains me out.
Worst of all, the city can really ignite the angry, aggressive side to me. The untrustworthy side, the annoyed side. Annoyed with all other people. The side that see’s everyone as vile and annoying because we’re all rammed together and have no true sense of connection or community. No sense of family with one another. No sympathy for the sniffers in the library, the painfully slow walkers, the drunks, the charity fundraisers, the suits on their rush to work, the indifferent shop keepers. It’s like the city has this amazing capacity to make you feel like everyone else is merely an extra in the movie of your life.
Being an adult in the city is often grim. Too often for me. That’s the problem. The city lures you in for just enough time to sucker out your energy and then drops you back into loneliness, into fear, because it’s had just enough. Then when you’re on the brink of breaking the bond, it hooks you back in somehow. Ironically, often through those two same things: loneliness and fear!
I genuinely fear there will be no wild space left in the world. That our sprawling cities will expand forever and engulf the world like a sink hole, and we’ll all pave the way for it with good intentions…
I think the trickiest part of city life is the contradiction. You think the pace is fast, and it is, but fast doesn’t mean rich. Fast paced living actually, paradoxically, feels like you’re stuck in honey. It comes with a lot of sacrifice. Namely, your precious time.
Because of our feelings towards the city, this is how we cope:
Cycling/walking everywhere because taking the tube is a) so expensive b) makes us feel sick from all the pollution
Spending as much time walking in parks/commons as possible
Getting out of London for the weekend, especially to Brighton
Simplifying our lives to eliminate unnecessary stress
I’ve started to chew my food. More on this to come!
Finding the balance between enjoying the cultural buzz and delightful variety of the city and having peace and quiet
So this is what our typical peaceful London weekends look like:
This weekend we’re off to Blackberry Woods for some winter camping and some much needed space from city life!
How do you cope with balancing fast-paced modern life and your yoga/spiritual practice? Please leave a comment below!
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“You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”
― Max Ehrmann, Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life
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