I must confess, I have a split personality. I love the energy of both cities and countryside. I’m torn between two worlds…
Exciting big cities
Big cities are high energy and fast-paced. Sometimes nothing can beat that energetic high from exploring around a new one. I’ve been fortunate to visit some of the great cities of the world – San Francisco, Sydney, Auckland, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Quito, Vancouver, Toronto, … So many cities, so little time. There are many I’d still love to experience. Paris and Rome are two big ones on my list!
But, then comes the drain
However, as exciting as big cities can be when we have leisure time to discover the best of them, it can be extremely draining to live in one full-time. The subway system in Hong Kong is one of the best in the world, and fun to ride as a tourist. But I observed the residents carefully in the time I was there. People constantly sandwiched into crowded places, faces planted in their cell phones. There was little connecting with other people, smiling or even making eye contact. Everyone just seemed to be enduring their own personal grind, surrounded by soulless cement.
Be in tune with body messages
It is very important to be cognizant of the drain on our energy in cities. Sometimes it can be difficult or even impossible for city dwellers to escape to green space for a reprieve from the pollution, noise, and crowds. I realized about a year ago that the traffic noise near my house was constantly making me feel on edge. It was a low grade, incessant drain that at first was easy to block out. But there came a time when I realized it was slowly sucking the life energy out of me.
Find your piece of green, today
So as much as I hate moving (who doesn’t?), I bit the bullet and did it for my physical and mental health. My partner and I are now installed in a new neighborhood, which is a short 5-minute walk to green space with a large park and river. I head there frequently for my “nature medicine”, walks and bicycle rides to calm and feed my soul. I’m feeling in better balance these days. And never underestimate the power of even a little patch of nature to energize. There is also a luxuriant garden around the house. When I feel tired or discouraged, a quick step out the door brings me back to my calm center. And unfailingly, the little dance of our resident hummingbird brings joy to my soul.
Such simple medicine, but so potent. There’s a great Time article about embracing nature as a mood booster. What Green Spaces Can Do to Your Mood is well worth the short read.
Will you fit in at least a small nature fix today? I urge you to do so…
When city voids me,
I flee to garden refuge.