This morning at 5:30am, I walked under moonlight through a grove of cedar and cypress trees on my way to the studio. A chill hung suspended in the quiet darkness, the sparse commotion of cars on the highway sharing a quiet echo as I studied the stars. And though I was embarking upon the day with barely 4 hours of sleep, it made me smile - both from happiness and recognition that sometimes we get exactly what we want in life.
Though the "way" we get it can often seem perplexing at first.
Just a few months previous, the thought, "I should be walking more and driving less" was becoming fairly persistent in my mind. I had put more miles on my car in 2014 than any other year, and aside from the bane of traffic only getting worse as the population of our city continues to far exceed the growth of our infrastructure, I was growing more and more concerned with my "footprint." I would wake up with the intention of walking to work, but day in and day out, I would find some way to fill the 15 minutes it would take to trek to either the studio or the restaurant with another activity, whether it be spending a few more minutes in the shower to sing an extra verse and chorus, writing that extra email, pressing snooze just one more time with the sheets over my head, or playing that YouTube video just one more time.
So when my car was totaled just under 3 months ago, the irony was not lost on me. Many would be pissed off, experiencing anger at the situation or the driver(s) involved in the accident, lamenting the loss of material possessions, and resenting having to surrender to circumstance and adapt. But even through my injuries and the sorry sight of my crumpled car, all I felt was calm. I was alive. The other driver was alive. We were both walking away from the collision. And despite this sudden turn of events that certainly complicated the fact that I had a show to perform in in less than 2 hours and a flight to catch the next morning, I was just happy to be on my feet. Walking.
Fast forward to now, I have since purchased a bicycle and I am growing into my role as an avid consumer of public transport. I have had to rediscover the city and the rhythms of its streets, and I am gaining a new appreciation for the beauty, of both the place and its people, as I look through the eyes of a tourist at a city I have lived in for over 12 years.
And I love it.
The fact is that anywhere I go now, I have made a conscious choice to be there. I have had to plan in advance, organize more thoroughly and efficiently, budgeting a generous portion of my day to my commute, and I have had to say "No" more times than I can remember. And as a result, I feel true ownership of my time, which I don't think I have ever been able to say. Perhaps I thought I did, but if anything, it was a lie to protect me from the truth. A spell I cast to keep me comfortably in the dark, complacent and seemingly content. An illusion of connection and presence which I could no longer maintain.
So walking this morning, seemingly alone save the company of molting trees, a blinking stoplight in the distance, and a glowing moon surrounded by twinkling stars, I felt so grateful to have arrived at that moment. Part of me felt the knee jerk impulse to post it on Facebook, tweet about it, or post a photo on Instagram. But the wiser parts of me knew that the best way to remember and honor the feeling of that moment was to be within the moment - to breathe it in and live it firsthand to the best of my ability.
Many have remarked to me, often with concern, that they don't see me as much on social networks or here on the blog. That they miss my posts, that they hope I am okay and that something more fun is occupying my time, and that they trust I will reconnect again soon. To which I can only smile and reply that the reason I am less "social" is because I am connected.
No more illusions of being out in the world while isolating myself in the convenient bubble of my car or being transfixed by my phone amidst a crowded room. No more illusions of intimacy with friends and family when a "like," "poke," comment, or infrequent text message is the bulk of our interaction. No more overcrowding my day and running myself ragged with appointments and obligations simply because it's feasible I could be there. No more wishing I could be somewhere else or doing something different or having more time for myself to do the things that I actually want to do.
And heading into the holidays, when many aspects of life can come to a head, I intend to continue connecting, both with the world around me and the world within. Taking leisurely walks lit only by the listening moon, openly expressing gratitude for the dance of tree branches, the reflection of sunsets against buildings, and formations of birds flying South, breathing deeply to open my eyes and my heart, and stopping from time to time to feel my feet upon the ground and know that my path is here.