Different Places, Same Life

A couple of times per year I leave my mountain paradise to visit family and friends in different cities across Europe. I am always quite excited about these trips; first of all because I’ve been missing my loved ones so much, and secondly because the hustle and bustle of city life can be stimulating. I do love my simple, monastic life up in the mountains, but at times it is nice with a little more “action”.
In the beginning when I dressed up for civilization I seemed to switch over to a different mode: faster, more impatient, and less conscious. I fell back into old habits, but I also tried to adapt to the different pace. When I returned home I had to adapt back and that often threw me off track.
It became clear to me that even when I go to a city I must not return to “city mode”, but I can remain in my own slower modus vivendi. Today, when I go to a city I will make an effort not to fall back into the old habit of rushing around. I actually can move more slowly and consciously through a crowd without bothering anybody and I can relax in long queues and patiently wait for my turn, taking the time to observe the variety of people I find so fascinating.
I have learned to remain in full awareness despite a hectic rhythm around me. In my slower, smiling mode I am able to enjoy the surprising people, colours, smells and shapes that I come across. Relaxed I stand in the crowd, trying to catch people’s eye or waving at little children, and I feel immensely grateful for having quit the rat race and for living at a more down to earth pace.
When you slow down you notice how rich and multi-faceted life is, how much you can experience and learn from everything and everybody around you. You just have to stop running around like a crazy chicken and instead take your time to really be with what you encounter in your life.

One of my favourite cities – Santiago de Chile

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