My Comfort Zone

For a long time I’ve wanted to visit New York City —before I rode off into the sunset! My best friend Susan and I just returned from a week long trip to New York City. Cross that off my bucket list! I’m still processing my experiences with the many sides of New York. I explored New York as a tourist and a greenhorn. I saw it, heard it and felt it. I can hear my English Comp teacher assigning a paragraph of descriptive writing. 

So hear goes…. Noise. Lots of noise. Horns honking, sirens blaring, the engines of cars and buses almost stacked on top of each other as they crawled through the streets. Only a masochist would drive in midtown Manhattan. Below this surface noise, underground is the subway. More noise. The train has a low and loud chugging sound as it rolls in to a stop and people rush off and more people squeeze in. Moving people from place to place is noisy.

A see of humanity! At first Susan and I saw only chaos, but after a few days we began to see the patterns and the rhythm of New York. Complicated choreography is a good way to describe the sidewalks and public transits;  some how everyone gets where they are going. It took a bit of observation and practice, but soon Susan and I were dancing with the New Yorkers.  Basically head down and dodge and weave! We even progressed to the dodging between cars move. Hiking in New York City only happens in Central Park.

Stinky! What were those bags of trash doing on the edge of the sidewalk? They looked like mountains but they stunk. Figured out (of course) that there were no alleys to access so garbage trucks came down the streets at night making the trash disappear. The many food trucks spread the smell of good food. The street grates belched stinky steam. Saks 5th Avenue did not stink!

Sunshine through skyscrapers creates an unusual quality of daylight. It’s hard to look straight up to see the sun and to keep walking. A forest of skyscrapers blocking the light. Fifth Avenue is filled with huge holographic billboards and are almost blinding to the eye at night. They are all screaming “Look at me!” We were under their spell. I felt the vibration of the street acts, music and more people moving this way and that.

You learn a lot by traveling with someone. Susan and I have travelled together several times, but New York’s craziness really highlighted how differently we navigate from point A to point B.The temptation is to redefine “different” into the right and the wrong way. I look at a map, get it in my head and take off, Susan uses her phone and google maps and tracks her journey. And this is walking not driving! There were a few cracks in the sidewalk before we reached acceptance of each other’s differences in navigating. I knew I was never lost if Susan was chugging along a few steps behind me, yes even our walking paces don’t match. I love you Susan!  

New York was such a foreign country that I wished I had packed my comfort zone. Returning to Fort Collins, I breathed a sigh of relief to see lots of green and hear the quiet. This is my comfort zone. I am familiar with the streets, restaurants, and  shopping; the sidewalks are my domain. And of course my family and friends live here. My travel to New York reminds me how different the world is and how life experiences shape us. I had to face my fear of not always knowing where I was, or what to do. Grow, or else!! Susan grounded me, she was home to me right there on the city sidewalk. Lady Liberty welcomed us with open arms.

Thoughts on Thinking

I talk to myself.  A lot. My thoughts narrate my life, “breaking news” stories  about the events of my day. Thoughts are not “facts” but they aren’t really lies either, maybe we could ask Trump what to call them. We think thoughts because we are humans, and humans are cursed with self awareness. ”Dogs don’t “think”, but it sure seems they are smarter than a lot of humans I know.  What scares me is I believe most of what I tell myself!!  My self- fulfilling prophecies never seem to lead me to happiness.

Very little is needed to make a happy life, it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.  Marcus Aurelius

                                                                               

It seems to me that thoughts are tyrants. This is the way it is—I am a loser, not smart enough and not that pretty. There is no bipartisan vote, the party in power, founded in my childhood, votes strictly along party lines. All the negative feedback and traumas in my life have control of  my headspace. I need to begin questioning my assumptions… like erasing a blackboard and starting over.  I can evict the damaging messages I give to myself and create some space for self-affirming messages. 

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

                                                                                      

When I think of Albert Einstein I think “Wow, give me some of his thoughts to think!” Einstein was a daydreamer and it is reported that he could visualize his theories first and then put words to them. My thoughts can get in the way of my experiencing. Thinking about eating a good meal is not the same as eating it! When I am engaging in obsessive thinking I am not “experiencing” the moment, I am wasting my time “figuring out” life instead of living it. Creative  thinking is the mind at play in the moment. I want to play more!

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t ….you’re right.    Henry Ford                                                             

The little train that chanted “I think I can, I think I can.”  made it up the hill. I doubt the little train would have got up the hill chanting “I can’t do it, I can’t do it.”  I was able to quit smoking because my mind was truly made up, no discussion allowed. My thoughts served me, not the other way around. The truth is I can talk myself into good behavior or bad behavior, so choosing my thoughts carefully is a  heavy responsibility.  Exercise is good for the mind and the body and so is rest. Self care can promote “I Can!” Are you a cheerleader for yourself or are you booing yourself?

Thinking: the talking of the soul within itself.                                      Plato

Leave it to the ancient teachers to define thinking in such a profound and true way.  I like the word “soul”  much better than the word “brain” especially when photos of the brain illustrate the word. That still quiet voice that tells us which way to go and what is truth must come from the soul.what do you have to say for yourself?

Think about it!