So, I've been back in the city for about 24 hours now and spent parts of today venturing out and reintegrating myself back into being in the city and on this sometimes overwhelmingly busy street/intersection/hub of Vancity humanity.
It's amazing what a few days of total silence and peace can do for the mind, and even more so the effects of coming back to the rude wake up call of horns blaring, aggressive drivers, and folks being generally obnoxious or downright cold in their inability to make eye contact or even mumble a simple "hello" to a passing stranger.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not naive to city life or what it's like in the cold 1000 yard stare of Vancouver, B.C. I've been here for more than half of my life and I'm well used to it by now. But still, it's a little wake up call every time I leave for a spell and then come back again.
Today I even had a mild anxiety attack when I was out and about, the first I've actually ever had and It wasn't cool at all. I had to drop what I was doing and get the fuck back to my safe space where I sat and collected myself and took to some grounding yoga practice to bring me back.
After a while I felt better and was good to go. I walked, got some food, and walked some more. I marvelled at todays blustery windy weather that snapped tree branches and sent the 'FOR SALE' signs in peoples yards flying. I snapped a few photos along the way. I did my best to remain open and stayed away from the constant din of traffic and ever present crush of people jostling through each other with heads down and eyes cemented deep into their handheld rectangle devices.
Then the rain started getting fat and sloppy. I wasn't dressed for the occasion so I made my way home.
It was a few blocks from my place where I experienced my rose of the day.
In the alley I passed this man who was obviously way down and out, possibly living on and off the street and most definitely had survival and staying warm as his main focus....he looked me directly in the eyes as we walked past each other and said, "Hey there my brother. Hope you have a good night."
And it fucking floored me!
Here's this fellow who by all rights SHOULD be guarded and doesn't need to be wishing well some clearly healthy, warm, and "wealthy" stranger, yet without want for anything in return he says some of the best words I'd heard all day.
And it floored me.
And it brought me back home.
And it got me even deeper into the intention to stay open, to make eye contact.....to stop being bitter and resentful of my surroundings and some of the people I pass by every day.
Yeah, this city is a tough nut and in a lot of ways it can suck the life out of you. People can be cold as ice and there are WAY too many of them driving around being stupid and shitty. The weather can be grotesque and the transit is for the birds and it's also expensive to live in. It's a reality that sometimes feels like a brick to the face. I sometimes wonder why I still live here.
But of course obviously I have my good reasons.....a job that pays well enough, beloved lovers and friends, a sweet pad that I could be paying WAY more a month for....and the view.....good Christ that awful horrible view of the mountains and city skyline from my porch? GROSS! ;)
Truth be told, there are factors that keep me here for sure. At the end of the day, despite my being surly and hard shelled from time to time I am quite content in my life and really feel no pressing need to GTFO. I most definitely will within the next 5 years, that much is certain. But while I am still here and maintaining a somewhat clean and happy heart I will do everything I can to stay present, no matter what.
People will pass through your life constantly. Some will mean nothing and others will mean everything. You will ask people to date or even marry you, you will say hello to strangers, you will make a moment of fleeting eye contact with nobody in particular. You will have a really shitty day or a great one or something in between.
Maybe you will even have a panic attack for the first time in your life and need to go home and curl up in a ball and cry for a while.
And that's fucking awesome!
Just remember, no matter how it all plays out....no matter what your circumstance.....remember that there are angels out there who are happy to hook and reel you back to reality like the grizzled world weary man who wished me well earlier tonight.
I hope I did the same for him in my grateful and happy response.
They are everywhere. They are you, me, your pals, your enemies, the stranger you pass by on the street who you might choose to greet.....even if they don't give back.....they are everywhere. And the choosing to stay open is not only a gift to yourself, it is a gift to everything around you.
Unless they honk their car horns at you. Fuck those guys!
Much love comrades. Thank you always. All ways!