Living in London can be energetically intense. Each day we encounter hundreds of people. Passing us by in the street, commuting with us on the tube, queuing with us in line for lunch. The majority of them are strangers. People we have never met, and are likely never to meet again. In these moments we are surrounded by other people. Yet, it’s easy to feel isolated and by yourself.
London is seen as a lonely city. Cities are described as lonely places. They are filled with people, yet empty of connection. Over time, we have stopped smiling at each other, talking to each other and acknowledging each other. I know a have been guilty of this. It’s a vortex of ignorance we can easily get swept into.
Throughout the day, different objects, scenarios and the emotions, which are connected to them, mostly distract our minds. It’s easy to slip into the pattern of our own routine, and get carried away by your own life and its importance. We have become so distracted. We have forgotten to stop, look around and see the beauty that surrounds us. Whether that’s towards other people, nature, landscape or the sky. It is looking up which creates connection. It connects us to what we see. And when we don’t look up, we isolate ourselves, and remain enclosed within the mind.
Since moving to London and integrating my mindfulness practice to work with this city, I’ve had to become increasingly aware of reminding myself to look up each day. It’s so easy to either keep my head down and rush along while walking down the street, or keep my head down by becoming distracted by my smart phone. There are endless distractions to prevent me from pausing, stopping, reflecting and remaining mindful throughout my day.
So, when I moved here, I set the challenge for myself, every day, to just ‘look up’. My mindfulness became my mission. Each time I noticed myself running away with a train of thought, I would stop myself and look up. Each time I would find myself becoming stressed over something, I would stop, breathe and look up. Each time I realised I had been staring at my phone screen for too long, I would look up.
Every time I would stop myself and look up, I would see something beautiful. Whether it was catching someone smiling across the street, or seeing a bird fly over my head, or noticing a flower growing on a tree. Each time I decided to pause, stop, and reflect for a moment, I would be reminded of and rewarded by the beauty of existence. I would instantly feel myself reconnected to my surroundings and at home in the city.
Looking up has granted me the beauty of gratitude, and the gratitude of being alive. So my challenge to everyone for this year, is to simply ‘look up!’.
——- By Harriet Emily, Yogi2Me teacher
Yogi2Me is the first app delivering Yoga and Wellness services on demand to your door, in London. With Yogi2Me, you can book an experienced yoga teacher to come to you at anytime. The app is perfect for busy bees who struggle to fit yoga or wellness into their schedule! It’s the perfect antidote to an on-the-go lifestyle!