Me in Microcosm
One of the really great attributes of a nomadic life is that you get these open pockets of time and space and you have a choice on how to fill them. You have the freedom to decide how to expand your world and in what direction.
I had such a pocket of time last weekend when I had three days between my move from Marin to my new place in downtown San Francisco. Instead of looking at it as an impediment of 3 days between apartments, I saw it as an opportunity to go somewhere, stretch myself, discover a new time and place.
Pockets of Time
I chose to go to Tahoe, where in early November it is in between seasons. I usually go up to the Sierra Nevadas in the summertime to hike and for tennis camp, but this time we were on the cusp of winter and that weekend we experienced the first real snow.
It was an incredibly magical time to be in the mountains. Very few people. The birth of a season. A changeable / fluid /fresh /rugged landscape at an inflection point. Literally virgin territory.
So I had three days of absolute freedom and as I reflect back on the weekend, I think how I chose to spend my time paints a fairly accurate portrait of me as an individual.
This is how I spent my time.
• Traveling – Give me three days and I’m off and running. The direction doesn’t even matter. What matters is the movement. Go, be gone. The act of traveling, putting space between you and your comfort zone is valuable in its own right.
And while I didn’t go far, just 4 hours up to the mountains, I was still able to transport myself to an entirely new world.
This desire to constantly seek out new territory, to be inconvenienced or to spend money in order to have a new experience, is always worthwhile for me. A new place gives me a fresh perspective, stimulates ideas, and an opportunity to find a fresh intellectual counterpoint to my daily existence.
And while I’m someone who obviously enjoys my own company, it’s more than that. It’s an appreciation for the preciousness of this time, a respect for unfilled space, a form of protection not to squander such an opportunity to gain some small bit of enlightenment.
When you are alone you are responsible for the journey you’re on. You can change the course. You can widen or narrow your path. You can make the decision to engage or disengage. You take ownership of your own experiences. And I relish this awesome responsibility.
• Moving – Walking gives me balance in the world. The steady rhythm of placing one foot in front of the other, not thinking about tiredness or labored breathing or straining muscles. Only thinking about movement, the act of physically engaging your body and propelling it forward.
The act of physically walking allows the blood to flow, the synapses to open and ideas to form. Emotions also start to flow as I look around and truly see the stark and pure and stunning physical world that surrounds us.
• Exploring – The stimulation of our natural world never ceases to amaze me. The sheer beauty that surrounds us in nature is hard at times for me to completely comprehend.
Hiking into the woods, crunching through the newly fallen snow, left me emotionally bare to experience the beauty of the mountains at a deeper level. This quote from Roger Miller pretty much sums it up for me: “Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.”
• Quietly – I wasn’t quite cognizant of my desire for solitude until I realized during that 3-4 days I lived in near complete silence. No TV (even though there was one), no music (even though I had my iPod), no talking (only 1 phone call that entire time).
Silence to me is to be treasured. To block out the noise and the hum of everyday life. To fully free your mind to concentrate on an internal dialogue. What would you say to yourself if you had 3 days of silence? What is worth repeating?
• Creatively – The fresh air, the natural beauty, the quietness – it is all very inspiring to me. And motivates me to read and write. And think. A lot of thinking. Having the stillness and days of empty time unfolding before you is luscious. A rare gem to be valued and one that I cherish.
These interludes of travel and exploration are normally followed by a burst of creativity on my end. New ideas. Lots of writing. A new-found exuberance. (I mean, even more exuberance than my normal self!) A passion with the world that I need and want to share through creative endeavors.
Who we are when we are alone
A 3-day interlude is a blank canvas of time. And you have the tools in your pocket to draw your own picture. What activities would fill your time? What words and images would consume your thoughts? What emotions would you feel? How would you chose to color the canvas?
As I write this and look at the 6 main activities of my last weekend — it strikes me that this is how I spent my 2-years off traveling the world. The same driving factors haven’t changed.
What pushes me forward is very clear. I seek to spend my time exploring and allowing myself the chance to engage with the world around me on a deeper level.
This entry was posted on Friday, November 14th, 2014 and is filed under Erin Right Now.