Tag Archives: presence

London Musings Vol. III: On not mixing well.

You know that saying about oil and water?  It’s true.  Put them in a covered jar and shake.  The oil will separate.  It will find itself again.  It will not get lost in the water.  It will not drown.  It will rise up.

Allow me to ramble a bit.

I needed a bathing suit.

Firstly, I realize this is weird – it’s not April, it’s September.  But I’ve decided to give up jogging for the winter and start swimming because Le Puy has this beautiful new public swimming pool and because I have a terrible phobia of running once the ground’s gone icy owing to that injury I wrote about in my last post.  Still with me?  Good.

So I needed a bathing suit.  The problem of course, is that it’s late September in London and finding a bathing suit swimming costume is not an easy endeavor by any stretch of the imagination.  Off to Oxford Circus I went.

For anyone unfamiliar with London Town, let me explain:  Oxford Circus is the shopoholic’s equivalent of a highway underpass.  That is to say, it’s where they go to get high.  There are approximately one million shops along this street, from Bangladeshi sari shops to High Street chain stores to haute couture.  One can buy Swarovski crystals or sweatshop-produced luggage or perfume or a cheap dress or a very expensive one, indeed.  It is also home to a very large Marks & Spencers, from whence I sought to find a suit – which I did.

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London Musings Vol. II: If you’re S.A.D. and you know it, get up off your bum and get outdoors.

The weather in London has been, frankly, lovely.  In fact, I’m certain that anybody who lives here would stick their tongues out at us, since the past summer was by all accounts beyond tragic.  Still, in spite of the fact that the sun has made at least a fleeting appearance on virtually every day since we arrived, there are only too many reminders that summer is making its way steadily toward the exit, sheepishly in these parts, perhaps all too aware of its less-than-impressive performance this year.

I love the sun.  Lovelovelove it.  I think I knew I had Seasonal Affective Disorder before the seasons ever had the chance to affect me in a negative way.  Barefoot has always been my fashion statement.  I never feel more radiant than when my hair is streaked with blonde and my shoulders are peeling just a little from forgetting to put on sunscreen a couple of days ago (I’m getting better).  When the days are longer and hotter, I feel solidly more optimistic about all of it.  Future, present and past just all seem more the way they should when one can go outdoors after dark in nothing more than flipflops, shorts and a tanktop.

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2012: Feet on the ground, eyes on the horizon

“Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

                                                                                                                                 ~The Red Queen

I’m shocked.  Appalled, really.  And I’m sure you’ll all agree that I’m anything but paranoid.

Time is seriously going faster than it used to.

Right?  Because no way has it been a year already since I wrote my last New Year’s post, right???  Jiminy Christmas, I’m getting old.

I thought I’d read through that year-old post…see if I’d kept my promises to myself.  I think the truth is that if I’m any further along, it can be measured like a few of the centimeters that comprise a marathon, but I don’t think I’ve moved back…so that’s good.  Oh, and I totally agree with year-younger-me…although I’m not sure I’m feeling quite so elevated spiritually this year.  Still, maybe that’s not true.  I’m not sure trying to measure the immeasurable is a recommendable place to start on one’s journey to mental and emotional peace.

Anyway (I’m steadily working my way toward the point of this post, I promise), there are some noteworthy changes to my overall circumstances, and therefore to how I’m thinking about the upcoming year.  Allow me another tangent.  There’s this thing about finding a state of “being” that’s made a whole lot easier when one is in constant motion, and one’s attention is mandatory.  So take jogging, for example.  We sometimes jog on a dirt path near Chris’ parents’ place.  The path is smooth, and we take it often, so there’s not a lot of attention needed, and my mind wanders and I think a lot of thoughts.  But a few weeks ago we went running in a little forest area a bit further outside town.  The path was rocky and many parts were covered in leaves.  Because I had to pay attention to every step, I soon found myself in the zone, focused, alert, and with a gloriously clear head.  Our life at this time last year was so much like the latter path, and that made it a lot easier to be present.  Now that we’re here, in Le Puy, and we know we’ll be here at least for a while, and we’re starting to lay some real bricks (if not planting roots) in the foundation of our really-for-real future, I wonder if it makes us less in-the-now.

And I guess that’s the challenge, really.  I want to have my cake and eat it too…I want to find presence and stability, spontaneity and rhythm.  So last year I did away with the New Year’s Resolutions and by and large it worked out swimmingly, I think.  And while I’m keeping that tradition, I’m hearing the Red Queen loud and clear and then some…this year I’ve somehow got to figure out how to run twice as fast as I can.  Is it possible to manage that feat whilst seeking presence?  Only time will tell.

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