I moved to the US some fourteen years ago.
You could say, I have now almost spent as much time in the US as in my native country – Pakistan.Of these fourteen years, I have spent the last seven in New York City, a city I have had a love/hate relationship with. And yet, despite all these years, there are moments, such as the one this morning, when I was dropping my daughter off to camp and walking back the long, early morning, sleepy streets of the upper east side, that I felt completely disoriented.
I kept walking, as though in a trance. I admit the weather had something to do with it. It’s one of those unusually beautiful summer mornings in the city, when the breeze has a cool minty hint to it, and the sun is not an angry fierce ball of fire, but a benevolent and jubilant gold that has the streets and the trees glittering under it.I walked down the 8:30 a.m. quiet streets of Madison Avenue, observing the shadow of the trees painted on the pedestrian pathway, as they danced against this lyrical breeze.
I was mesmerized.
I kept walking as I was uncertain of where I was heading at the outskirts of my consciousness. I wasn’t experiencing a memory lapse, I was just transported elsewhere. I thought:
This is not the street of my childhood, the streets of Karachi.
And yet this breeze took me to a place where everything seemed deeply familiar and paradoxically – completely foreign. I remembered this sweet, cool breeze, and the gold of the sun from another world, another continent, perhaps an early January in Karachi. I have known this moment. In another world. At another time. Deja vu? Or just the memories of an immigrant mind?
I felt like a stranger, a tourist in what has become my adopted hometown over the last thirteen years. I felt like the outsider who is vacationing in a beautiful land, on a beautiful day. All the colors and shapes of the streets, the buildings, the old-world New York architecture is alluring to my mind, and still strangely unknown. And I watch, mindfully though with an absent smile. I am here, but I am walking the territory of my dreams. Where the weather is always this beautiful and the streets always this quiet and colorful to see.
Sometimes being fully present in a moment, allows you a distance that is unique only to a complete outsider, a visitor.
You lose your sense of attachment and opinions of a place, and you just accept the flow that you are present in.
You smile dismissively, because you are taking nothing personally. Everything becomes a reminder of another sweeter reality: the way things were.
You inhabit two worlds and you can do that well without forming any opinions about one or the other.You just become present in a place you develop a non-attachment to, such that nothing about it irks you anymore. Everything just is, the way it is.
You become the spectator, the watcher, not the one actively involved and actively affected by all that is around. You develop a distance, that allows you to breathe to smile to even laugh out loud unexpectedly. You marvel at your strength to look at things from a distance and not allow them to affect you deeply.
In that moment, even a walk back home, becomes a deeply meditative experience.
Tania Kazi is a yoga teacher, a meditation guide, an Ayurveda Life Consultant and a mom. she is also a student of Feng shui + Vastu Shastra and believes strongly in an outer environment that supports and compliments inner peace. Tania works for a think-tank in Washington, D.C. where she holds a position on the board of directors. Her loyalty lies in the betterment and the healing of the human soul, which she does through her yoga and meditation classes while also working toward empowering the indigenous peoples of the developing world. Tania is a thinker, yogi, a writer, an activist and a breaker of moulds. She resides in Manhattan. for further musings, do visit:www.taniakazi.blogspot.com.
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