Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The tension of opposites

I had a rough day at work today, and was feeling grumpy as I walked home, writing today's post in my head. I had chosen to share several signs that I encountered in the past few days, all of them interesting, and all of them, to me, slightly depressing:

As I stepped onto my block and started down the sidewalk, I saw a well-dressed man bending over two children who were sitting against a building, each with a bag, and each looking like they didn't belong there. I overheard part of the conversation "....what can I do to help you?" "We're okay" "Are you sure? How can I help...?"

I walked on, inspired but also even more tired. It's exhausting to stay open and present, to not fall into a trance and to try and see everything around you. If I were better at practicing meditation, perhaps I could be present and tread lightly upon the streets. But I do not yet have that detachment, and instead the sheer number and vastness of opposites that I encounter are wearing me down.

I cannot stay detached when I see the homeless man shuffling along, crossing paths with the doorman who is opening the limousine door (yes, a limousine) for the young girl on her way to school. It pains me to see the color divides in the city-- I often see black women strolling with white babies, but never see white women caring for black children. When I take the train in early, I see people of color in their uniforms. When I take the train a bit later, I see the pale people in their business suits. It hurts to see the very old leaning on each other, maneuvering the stairs of the city, while insouciant youth run past.

It would be easier to don a pair of headphones and simply walk, eyes straight ahead. But I cannot, I cannot. Neither am I sure how to tend to a heart that holds the pain of myself and others. I must find a way.


  1. Have you thought about therapeutic massage to ease the excess out? A good massage therapist would do wonders for your body and soul. I think a regular session would be a great investment for a sensitive soul living in an (over)stimulating city.

    I have one at least once a month, if not more.

  2. Great observations, love the photos!!