Saturday, January 29, 2011

When it is not so novel

To put it mildly, I have been incredibly lucky in my life to travel . . . a lot. Each new city / place is an opportunity to see the world in an entirely new way. On my other blog, I have been looking at how these experiences can help us overcome some of our deep-seated patterns in life, those patterns that drive our actions unconsciously (here and here). But there always comes a point where the novelty of something new becomes second nature. I remember my first day as a camp counselor for the YMCA when my supervisor had to give me explicit directions to the site, and almost two years later reflecting on how getting there had become completely unconscious. It was one of the first times in my life that I saw that happen.

So, here I am in New Zealand. I'm learning to look right before crossing the street and using the map less and less. The buildings look familiar, and even the trees and ocean are becoming just part of the landscape. Anyone who knows me well (or reads my facebook page) knows that trees are one of the most healing aspects of the planet for me, so it is odd that I am not obsessed with them anymore. But that is life.

Our brains must be our filters. There is simply too much information going on around us, and if we noticed all of it, we would go crazy (of course, meditation helps us notice more without going crazy, but that is for the other blog). But something else happens when the excitement becomes common place - loneliness. When everything is new, there is never time for me to be lonely. I am just constantly excited to see what comes next. But as that wears off, and other aspects of the quotidien re-emerge, the loneliness begins to kick in.

This has been an odd sort of "holiday." I have spent some of my time being a complete tourist, taking in the sites, going on a Lord of the Rings tour and visiting botanical gardens and taking walking tours, and I have spent some of my time meeting with professors, meeting a judge's law clerk, hanging out at the Fulbright office, getting a bank account / cell phone, and even doing a presentation at a conference in Sedona (by skype).

But amidst it all, I am still content. There are moments of loneliness, moments of excitement, moments of fascination, and moments where I remember why I am here. In just over a week, I have met some amazingly warm people, seen some of the most beautiful landscape of my life, and presented at a conference by skype. This last week has been unlike any before, and I love how all aspects of my life are coming together. It is said that if you find something you love, you will never work a day in your life. This experience of blending is the closest I have ever come to that.

Interestingly, I started this post thinking that I was going to talk about how lonely I am, but upon reflection, I continue to see how lucky and content I am. (I also must add that people walk barefoot here - in the city!) Thus, when life is not so novel, we can learn to find the daily gems, the daily experiences that make us happy. It is nice to have a rainforest to remind us once in awhile, but everyday is a gift, and each moment can be full of the excitement we bring to the novelist of experiences.

On that note, I'm driving on the left side of the road tomorrow. Yikes! Cross your fingers.

And here are some of my favorite photos so far. Thanks for reading!

Namaste and Blessings!

This is the Anglican Church in Dunedin, which is funny because the city was settled by Presbyterians, but this Church is in the main square. It is gorgeous.

This is a view of Wellington from Mt. Victoria. I love the shadows the clouds made over the hills. And yes, that is the Pacific ocean out there. I also would like to mention that I hiked to the top of this "hill." I am not in as good of shape as I thought. :)

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