Traveling as much as I have recently brings about grand highs, and the lowest of lows. In each of these moments it takes something more than we alone can muster to push us through. Even a grand high needs a careful and steady hand to guide it to the path waiting, at the inevitable plateau.
I’ve been told by many, that while I was in Madrid I should take the thirty minute train to Toledo, and marvel. For reasons of being complete, I had been getting over a little cold with a cough, which had brought about some of my low state. Upon arriving at the train station in Toledo, I was enraptured by a sense of bewilderment, and unable to take the future step toward a specific destination. Aimlessly I wandered from the section where one buys maps, to the tourist bus (I hate these things), to just picking a direction and walking. For me, when I am in a state of overwhelm, the act of speaking to another is usually enough to get me on the road to decision. Knowing this, I chatted up an attendant, and several others came over to offer their thoughts in Spanglish, a map was purchased, and I headed toward the center of town.
A walk is a beautiful thing. It puts you into movement, your mind has time to start bringing to you the items it feels are important for you to process. So a walk can be equally grueling. And my walk to the center of town was definitely no different. It brought up all manner of unhappy thoughts that needed a thorough processing of which I wasn’t ready to do. And so, I kept walking. And reaching town, I marveled. Mostly. At times I sat and stared off into space wondering how I was going to pass the time till my train got me out of there. Other moments I was, of course, photographing things that looked interesting to photograph. And yet other times I sat with iPad and read the latest book I was working on. I was having a wonderfully rich and entertaining time. If the sarcasm isn’t apparent, re-read with jaded colored glasses.
I decided, at that moment, to just pick a direction that I intuited was good, and go. So I walked down random tiny cobblestone streets in this ancient city without seeing a single tourist for twenty minutes. As I walked down a set of stairs that looked no different than any other, in the window over my right shoulder was singing, and piano playing, and it was beautiful, and loud. It was enough to stop me in my tracks, and wonder for a short moment, if it wasn’t a recording, but live. Alas, the backup singers gave away the origin. So I stood there, and pulled out my iPhone to record it. I had to know the song, it was sung with such emotion and depth. I was feeling that exact emotion, at that moment, and some random window in a history filled town was playing this beautiful song and speaking to my soul. My funk in that moment subsided, and I was able to muster a smile.
The remainder of my time in Toledo, anytime I felt a dip in my emotional state, I could recall and feel the uplifting those few moments gave me. When life is coming at you from seemingly every direction, just making a choice sometimes is enough to pull you out of a stuck feeling. Movement, no matter the direction, is what our bodies were designed for.