Monday, August 29, 2011

Running Around

Earlier this month, on my way to sing a recital in Toronto, I walked by this sign:

I did a bit of a double-take, thinking to myself: but my life is all about running around! As I warmed-up for the concert that night, I found myself pondering what I saw on that church sign, wondering if I was losing touch with myself. The more I thought about it, the more I disagreed with the sign. On the contrary, I actually feel quite in touch with myself because I run around for a living.

Just a few days before I saw that sign, I was in Chicago having a conversation with some friends over dinner about nationalism and xenophobia, in which we were discussing, among other things, the recent shootings in Norway. At one point in the conversation, I said to my friends, “I can't make sense of that kind of action. Perhaps it's because I run around the world so much for work that my opinion has been shaped this way, but I have come to the fairly radical view that humanity is one and that, as a result, national borders almost seem a bit silly to me. Every week I am somewhere different, and I see how, despite differences of language and culture, we are all the same. We are all citizens of the world, and in this sense family. Why be so afraid of each other?” My Chicago friends pointed out to me that my point of view was somewhat unique, partly because most people don't travel as much as I do. I had to agree with them - my life is not what most people would consider "normal".

The dinner-conversation in Chicago and the seeing that sign a few days later in Toronto gave me a bit of a new perspective into how I am lucky to be running around all the time. Does the travel get to me? Yes, it totally does. Do I get homesick? All the time. Do I miss my loved ones and hate not being able to be there for important moments? Totally. But I am really privileged to have this much time alone on planes, trains, automobiles and in hotels and sublet corporate apartments in strange, new cities in foreign lands. I am lucky to be able to spend this much time meditating on life, music, and seeing the world. Faced with the perpetual challenges of new places, new situations, new people, new languages, and new cultures, I am forced to stay open and to see how I fit into the constantly changing world around me. Forever moving forward, I am never stagnant, never inert, and am always growing, always learning. I am made constantly aware of who I am, where I have come from, as well as who I want to be.

Here's a little video I came across last month while pondering all of seemed apt to post it here:

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

1 comment:

Mendel Markel, said...

Well said. I always find I lose touch with myself when I close myself off from the world and quite contrary to that quote, it seems running around is where I discover and really get in touch with myself. Staying put all the time just breeds stagnation and often intolerance as well. Great video too.