I go to Central Park quite a lot.
When I initially moved to NYC, five years ago, I ignored the park dismissing it as a place full of greenery and people that I did not want anything to do with. It probably did not help that I had lived in DC for a year prior to moving here. However, living very close to the park, I’ve come to really appreciate the amount of peace that it brings to my life especially when I need a breather from this busy city (and the city is busy, believe me!).
One of my favorite places in the park is Bethesda fountain. It is definitely not the quietest place in the park, but it is a great place for people watching and even meditating. If you sit on one of the benches surrounding the fountain long enough, I think you can see all of NYC passing by. People of all races, backgrounds, genders, with all their eccentricities pass by. Sometimes there are artists by the fountain dancing or playing music which can draw larger crowds and be quite entertaining.
I love people watching just because I am always amazed by human habits and interactions. What strikes me the most at this fountain is differentiating between the tourists and the “natives.” You can definitely tell the difference between someone who is here on vacation or just for a short period of time versus someone who lives here either because they have been here all of their lives or because they have been living here for quite some time. All of this makes for a great mixture of characters – those taking photos of everything and those passing by in their workout clothes in a hurry. This confluence of bodies, moving really quickly or actually sitting down to admire the fountain, always brings peace to me because it reminds me that we all are interconnected. This fountain might be our only point of connection, but at least it is a point of convergence in all of our lives. This is important in NYC because there is a feeling of disconnection with most people. Everyone is so busy pursuing their goals/dreams/aspirations that sometimes it becomes difficult to really connect.
The fountain is also the place where I go to “meditate” (I put this in quotes because my definition of meditation might not be the standard). In the evenings, as it quiets down, it is the best place to sit down, have a cup of coffee (decaf of course), and just reflect on the day or what occurred throughout the week. This is extremely important in my life because, as any other New Yorker, I am very driven and sometimes forget to stop, quiet down, and really reflect and be thankful for all of the things in my life. I started “quieting down” during the evenings at this fountain a year ago when it became evident to me that I needed a break. It has helped me to feel grounded and to connect to others in ways that I couldn’t really imagine last year.
Now that I’ve shared what brings me peace in this crazy city, I would like to know what brings you peace. Are there any good habits you’ve picked up that have helped you to become more “centered”?
Also, let me know how I’m doing or if you’d like to read anything in particular about living in this city. I hope that these blogs get better as I get used to writing for the masses again ;).
Hope all of you are having a lovely weekend 🙂