Finding Inner Peace in an Urban Jungle
Last week we asked the authors of Wilderness Press’s Walking series Why We Walk, and an idea they all expressed is the notion that walking through town allows us to slow down and absorb the world around us. Your classic “stop and smell the roses”-type wisdom.
What our authors revealed in their responses is a connection between walking and urban spaces. Now, of course walking and urban space have been connected all along: a central idea behind urban planning is quick access to the majority of one’s everyday needs, and a chief selling-point of most urban residences is their close proximity to those resources.
However, an all-too-common consequence of this convenience is the hustle/bustle effect. It’s an interesting conundrum for the city-dweller. The opportunity to walk — to slow down and absorb the world around you — is there, but it’s often overtaken by the sheer volume of others around, sharing that space with you.
This got us at Trekalong thinking about how solitude might be a crucial component to this notion of slowing down, but one that can easily elude the urban dweller. Is it really possible to stop and smell the roses as millions of others rush by, sweeping you along in their wake?
So, like last week, we turned to the experts on urban tranquility — authors of the bestselling Peaceful Places series (Menasha Ridge Press). Here’s what a few of them had to say:
Raynell Boeck | Peaceful Places: San Francisco
In San Francisco and the Bay area — where the parade of people is a given, the temptations to excess are great, and noise is a constant — solitude, when we crave it, seems even more elusive. At a time when economic downturn has changed our lives and we just might be headed for our own emotional meltdown, solitude seems ever more necessary.
Laura Randall | Peaceful Places: Los Angeles
It was a classic L.A. moment: chaos and ugliness dominated one corner of town while absolute tranquility could be found just around the bend. For every strip mall and smog-check garage this city has, there is an unexpected hillside garden or spectacular scenic overlook to counter it and make you want to live nowhere else on earth.
Paul Gerald | Peaceful Places: Portland
I often look at how I’m spending my time and how I feel, and I think, Where’s the part where I just relax? Or, Is this what I’m really here for? And then comes the thought, You can relax or do what you’re here for when you’ve gotten so-and-so taken care of, or simply, I don’t have time to relax or pursue my purpose when there’s so much to do.
Turns out I do have time. This somebody who is working against me is none other than myself, filling my life with stuff to avoid… something.
Lynn Schweikert | Peaceful Places: Boston
More than ever, we need ways to find peace “in the midst of things as they are,” places where we can find the calm in our hearts that refreshes our spirit, restores our balance, and renews our ability to appreciate the joys and meet the challenges of daily life.
Live in the city? How do you find solitude in your urban jungle?