Friday, November 21, 2008

Know Thyself

I’m sitting at The Panini Garden in Santa Monica, outside on their back patio in the perfectly sunny and breezy 79 degree weather. Perfect for…May. Early May. I might say August or September, but the light isn’t golden as it should be during the fall months.

Today, I’m oka
y with the ridiculously out-of-character November weather. I’ve never been to this place before, although every time I’m in Santa Monica and say I want to go somewhere to write T says that here would be perfect. Okay, okay, he was right. I love it. There just aren’t places like this at home. The back patio, where I’m sitting, has thin strips of linen draping from rafter to rafter, allowing enough light for it to be bright but completely taking the glare away. Tiny birds are fluttering between the gaps in the linen and in from the trees next to the fence down to the floor of the patio and back again. I didn’t even notice them until the couple next to me got up to leave and a tiny flock of them flew up. It’s an odd sensation because even with the slight breeze, you feel like you’re inside and you don't expect little birds to be everywhere. Sounds weird, I know, but it’s actually really cool. T and a friend are also here, working on a project:

It's one of my silly little mottos that you need to make it a point to know what you need in order to be your happiest, or most productive, inspired, or least bitchy; however you wanna spin it. For instance, it didn't take me too long to realize that I need more sleep than a normal person in order to be my most pleasant and productive. I also am a morning person, and am at my best when I awaken before 7am, which, combined with my need for sleep, makes for early nights. I find that this isn't normal for my peer quarterlifers so every year or two I'll somehow forget how important it is and try to maintain my normal routines with less sleep (like, going to bed late every night and still getting up at the same time in the morning, like I've been doing for the past couple weeks) and I'm okay for nearly a month, after which it's downhill, quickly. So, I can either go to bed early, or suck. Generally and all-around, suck. I'll be less energetic, less positive, my workouts suffer of course, and I am serious when I say I lose intelligence. No kidding, I become stupid. Or stupider, maybe...? See - I need sleep right now.

So that's 1. Another one for me is that I need to be in lovely places. I don't mean necessarily my living space, which depends on a lot of factors and can't always be done, but as soon as I move to a new city one of my top priorities is finding the closest and most beautiful parks, gardens and trails, which I then need to go visit semi-regularly in order to feel whole and balanced.

I've known people before who said that needing those things made me less human - an old boyfriend and I had gigantic fall-outs when I said I couldn't always live in Florida because I needed real trees in my life. Sorry, I do...

So, back on topic, places like the one I'm sitting in, that has blooming lavender bushes lining the patio, intricate patterns inlaid in brick along the walkways and a simple fountain next to the door, not to mention the birds, are important to me. I lived in Richmond again between undergrad and grad school for about 8 months and Maymont was my savior. I miss it like I miss a person, and every time I go I feel as if I'm visiting an old friend as I walk the paths.

I'm sure that's one of the things that makes me odd, but at least I'm aware of it :) And I don't think there's a thing wrong with needing beauty in my life.

So, in closing, what are things you need? What calms your soul and makes the quiet voice of inspiration easy to hear, once your mind has settled? Maybe it's music or particular foods, or routines like exercise or visiting certain people.

Think about it, find out, then start putting some of that stuff into your schedule. Go on or any news site and you'll see how pampered our lives are compared to some in the world. We have a responsibility, at the very least, to appreciate that fact and make ourselves the most healthy beings we can, in order to contribute what we need to to the world.
Happy Friday :)

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