This past week came easy and left with a lot to process. Between personal life, professional life, and organizing life, there have been enough heavy conversations to transfigure levity to stone and thought to fog.
So I took a drive.
Initially, I didn't want to get out of bed. As often happens, the weight of exhaustion and uninvited melancholy forced me deeper under the sheets at until I checked my phone to see the time and ended up in a vortex of Instagram notifications and text messages that needed replying. Living in a city built on social capital comes with people trying to spend it -- and I woke up to transactions.
After a short struggle with sleep (interrupted by my cheap, "sun-blocking" Target curtains), I got up with an annoyed grunt and found myself teeth brushed, shoes tied, and out the door. I got into my car with the firm intent of heading to a cafe, getting a meal, and settling in for the afternoon with a cold brew and my laptop, promising myself that the distraction of work would take my mind off things and drive the analytical energy towards productivity.
And then, halfway through my coffee, I gave up and surrendered to the day.
I caught lunch, yes. A poke bowl at the newly opened Snociety, followed by a cold brew on the JACCC plaza from U-Space. But as I sat looking at the orange brick and contemplating the summer sky I decided that the laptop could wait. So I went on an adventure.
Armed with a single Google search and my GPS, I ended up at Mt. Baldy.
I forget that there is nature all around LA sometimes.
I forget that escape is easy.
Outside of the city lies the rolling hills and layered sunsets that transformed California from a backwater state to the brilliant Ramona backdrop in the eyes of the nation. As my car ascended pin-turns and reduced speed signs I found myself closer and closer to the top of the world and further and further away from the suffocation of buildings and people and back-of-mind puzzles to solve.
There is no true hakuna matata in the 21st century, but the pure, clear silence of a mid-afternoon canyon can cloud and flush the mind of a willing hiker. In a city and season when so much is happening, positive and challenging, these moments of escape have been driving me forward and given me the time and permission to consider my connection to the clouds and the ground beneath my feet.
The process of grounding is often taken for granted. To me, and many others, it is becoming more and more essential. With so much on my mind and so few people around me equipped with context, language, or understanding to fully offer relief, these retreats into myself and away from my city persona offer me the chance to be that person for myself.
I don't speak in terms of "self-care", but rather I am interested in thinking about how we remove our layers of stress, second guess our senses of duty, and reconfigure how we define commitment. Through that I wonder where we find self-forgiveness, straightforward understanding, and absolute honesty that is normally buried under layers and layers of social survival-driven pretense and concrete.
And then I wonder where we go from there.