NANCY G. SHAPIRO

FINDING CALM IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE

From "Me" to "Us"

October 3, 2013

Traveling makes one modest—you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” - Gustave Flaubert

 

 

Yesterday I woke up for the second morning in a row feeling melancholy and overwhelmingly disconnected. The mood hovered around me like a swarm of no-see-ums, pesky and impossible to swat away. Yet when I drove ten minutes into town and started walking around doing various errands, a lightness and calm came over me.

 

I had traveled from a place defined by the tiny world of “me”— dogs, house, messy desk, even the rain-nourished vistas outside — to being connected to many worlds. A father pushing his young son in the stroller, the open doors of small tiendas, the mid-day crunch of traffic in a town with no stoplights. The kids in their school uniforms on their way home for comida, the old woman huddled on the sidewalk begging for pesos, the sun’s heat one minute and the welcome shade of looming clouds the next.

 

One can also travel within and find wholly different worlds. It’s easy to get lost in our work, a routine, the seeming safety of familiarity. Taking a tiny step or giant leap into unfamiliar territory can refresh our bodies and our brain, and take us directly into the now, to what is occurring in real time. Such acts of shifting what is “normal” can open our eyes: to the love apparent on the new parent’s face, the constant cacaphony or comforting quiet of our town, the weariness in a passing stranger’s voice, a growing sense of ease as your feet feel the earth and new roads under your feet.

 

We are each of us here, individual tiny parts connected to, and experiencing the multi-faceted story unfolding all around. See what happens when you get out of your chair and unhook from your personal “norm.” Practice a bit of courage and do something deliciously different today.

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