LIFE IN LONDON: THE CITY AS A TEACHER




When I open my eyes in the morning, one of my first thoughts is always I can't believe I live in London and Is this real? I get out of bed and do my daily meditation. I feel peaceful and grateful for the day. I eat breakfast and drink tea. I get ready and leave my flat — either for work or to run errands or go for a wander in a new area. One thing I'm still adjusting to is the sheer amount of people in this city. I now expect crowds, line ups, and just people everywhere I go. I love it because I'm never alone and being among a blanket of people creates a veil of anonymity, creating less opportunities for judgment from strangers. I hate it because it can be overwhelming and public transit tends to bring out the worst in people. It also takes a lot longer to get somewhere. I describe London as the city of polarities. It's everything and anything, peace and chaos, rich and poor, sun and rain, darkness and light. It's a circus that runs itself and never sleeps. It's unapologetically British. 



I tried my best to not have expectations around what living in London would be like. I set myself up to expect that I could love it, I could be scared and times may be tough, I would face a lot of potential rejections (have I ever), and I could have a hard time finding friends or groups to join. I wanted to guard this experience by leaving the expectations as open as possible. This has helped me in so many ways. It's given me space to interpret all of my experiences as they come. 


One of my yoga students asked me how I was finding London so far. I thought for a moment and what came to mind was London has been the best teacher. They had never heard it described that way and I find Londoners are always amazed by how the city is perceived. I went on to explain how before moving here, I considered myself a quite calm and patient yogi. Just a few months in, I have learned that this is not exactly true. I've learned more about myself since moving here than I have in years and this is one of my reasons for wanting to follow this dream. I had a feeling that a lot of the things I believed to be true about myself weren't true — or at least weren't being tested enough to know for sure.


We think we know what we want and what we like and what we don't like and what we can handle. Until we put ourselves in situations outside our comfort zone, we don't truly know ourselves as well as we think we do. 


Here are a few recent revelations that have made me ponder how well I truly know myself. 

I don't like the city sometimes and big crowds can be overwhelming.

Key word is sometimes. Obviously I moved to London because I do love it. I love how big and chaotic and gritty it is. I love the buzz. And as an extrovert, I do get energized by people. However, I'm learning that I've overestimated my tolerance for things like thrusting myself into a packed subway cart, waiting a long time in line ups, getting excited to go to an art exhibit or movie only to learn it is sold out, waiting lists, and *accidentally* going to a market or vintage store at peak hour and literally not being able to walk because of how many people are there. These ~little~ things are all new to me and are teaching me how to be more patient, tolerant, and grateful than I could've ever imagined. I feel grateful because I realize that visiting galleries, markets and shopping are privileges. 


Routine is not only important but essential to my wellbeing. 

Moving to a new city and working part-time, blogging part-time, and searching for full-time work has certainly thrown off my extremely comfortable nine to five routine of the past six years. I didn't realize how much I depended on having a routine and the affect it has on my wellbeing. I knew I wouldn't have a daily routine for my first months here but figured if I could start each day off on the right foot, it would make up for the lack of routine everywhere else. A few weeks in, I established a morning routine so that every day starts the same regardless.



Trusting that everything will be okay is a daily effort. 

On the outside, I always appear to have a positive, cheerful, and sunny disposition. While I mostly feel this way, I have many moments of self-doubt. This whole process has really tested my ability to trust — in my dream, in this journey, and most importantly, in myself. I made a lot of sacrifices to move here. I quit my job, I sold my car, I sold a lot of my stuff, I saved a lot of money and paid off debts. I didn't have a job lined up or a solid place or many friends in the city. I did have goals, intuition, and trust. I had to really trust that this was the right decision and I knew because I felt it in my heart. When I tuned into that feeling, I just knew it would be okay. I have to renew this trust every day and sometimes many times throughout the day. It is the most bizarre feeling moving somewhere and signing a lease, even buying plants or furniture — items that symbolize settling — without fully knowing how this will all work out. 




Building a sense of trust within myself that I'll always be okay no matter what is a teaching that I could've only learned by taking a big risk and following my heart. For that, I am forever grateful. London, you truly are the best teacher and I'll continue trying to be a good student. 

PHOTOGRAPHY BY LEANNE DIXON 










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