Reflection: On Regrouping

In a mad dash to get to the end of the year, the city around me has taken on the intensity of open seas during a hurricane. Masses of rushing people flow to and fro frantically, übercrowding buses, gridlocking traffic and packing the beaches shoulder to sweaty shoulder. It’s the holidays in São Paulo, oh boy!

I find it rather ironic that the already too frenetic pace of this city cuminates at Christmas/New Years, a traditional time of peace for me. Maybe it’s my Alaska heritage speaking but dealing with large gatherings of people in order to experience a bit of nature or family time does not leave me relaxed. But Brazilians seem to prefer the flock, one of many marked cultural differences.

Personally, I long for a quiet view of wild rainforest, breaking waves or gently falling snow. No words spoken. Maybe some music in the background, adding emotional color to the moment without drawing undue attention. Nothing to clean, no emails to write, no people to call. A moment to just be. Still.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Imagining such a scene here now has actually brought it a little bit closer to me. Whew. I needed that.

It’s all too easy for me to get swept up in the flow of perceived responsabilities, caught in the constantly churning machine of (mindless) productivity. I have to consciously remember to relax, otherwise, I forget. Often, I forget not only to relax but to think, as well. Which is what I’m trying to do now.

After experiencing many cycles of this, I’ve found that emerging from long periods of automatic living to regain conscious reflection can be challenging. The unfocused mind has difficulty applying itself to a subject for very long. Fuzziness reigns. Evolving an idea or perceiving something with depth requires great energy. The muscle of the brain has atrophied.

My usual remedy for such a state is writing in my journal (and, it seems now, writing for my blog). I’ve kept journals ever since I could write. I must have over 30 of them scattered throughout boxes and book shelves between Brazil and Alaska, full of my agonies, joys and random meanderings. There’s something about the process of putting pen to paper that helps focus my thoughts into coherency, eventually breaking through the thick mental fog. I don’t know that it’s the answer for everyone but it sure works for me. Any thoughts on this out there?

Perhaps, if I can’t find the secluded getaway of my fantasies this holiday season, I can at least turn to the comfort of a blank page to find stillness and clarity. Simple and guaranteed.

1 Comment

  1. Mandy on December 12, 2010 at 11:34 am

    This is the age old, take-time-to-smell-the-roses or coffee, or lavender, whatever your fancy. It’s the same for me here in this rat-race city that refuses to lay down, even when covered in thick comforters of snow. But as you know, I’ve been doing a lot of soul reformation this year, and looking for peace has been number one on my agenda. When you are in peaceful surroundings, it evokes a peaceful feeling inside you. But peace comes from within. I have spent nights in utter silence, days laying in gorgeous splashing sunlight, and still been filled with feelings of dread, anxiety, worry, anything but the peace that my environment could evoke. Enter mantra. Enter ritual. Enter small thought that somehow gives me comfort no matter where I am. Enter letting go of the past (even the past few minutes), letting go of the future (even this evening’s dinner), and looking the present straight in the face to see what peace and beauty I can find in it.
    Which of these hundred people on the subway might be wearing mismatched socks? What did it feel like to look that woman in the face and see a mother? Who told this idiot on the phone “I love you” this morning? Look at my hands, aren’t they a miracle in this light?
    If you think about it, that’s what we’re doing when we’re drawing or painting. We are disassociating ourselves with time and taking in every aspect of the moment, trying to find beauty and peace. It trains the MIND, not the eye. I think that’s why I’ve kept it so close this year.

    To peace, my love. In your heart. I’m sending you some right now. Firm porcelain coffee mug handle. Rap tap tapping of this keyboard, sound of wind blowing through the grids of brownstone apartments that lace the streets of Brooklyn. One cat, crying for a playmate.