14 April 2016

Alone in a crowd

Lonely? Maybe not.
Due to myriad meetings, I spent more than my usual scheduled "in office" days in my Manhattan office this week. Although we were blessed with a very mild winter, all things considered, the city is emerging into a beautiful spring. In a cacophonous city crafted in cement, steel, and the detritus of its millions upon millions of residents, how does spring manifest itself? Here's how:

Stunningly blue skies.
White clouds that create their own art work against that amazing blue palette.
Bright yellow daffodils arching towards the sun in planters all along Lex.
And shwarma truck vendors who are not yet permanently enraged at their customers.

Manhattan in the spring is a joy (really, it is). I find an enormous sense of solace at this time of year when I'm in the city. The city is finding itself once again. Even though New York City never feels empty, there are more people out and about. People who have hibernated (or ordered in from Seamless) for the winter are out and about. That's obvious by the longer lines at every place I like to go for lunch.

What is remarkable to me is that I can be standing in a massive throng, like at the corner of 42nd and Madison during the rush to get to Grand Central Station, and feel completely alone, and at peace I might add, in my thoughts. I have come to realize that's not a bad thing. It's in moments like that I feel like I'm totally engaged and in the moment. I find myself doing some of my best thinking surrounded by those hordes. I've wondered why that is too. Perhaps it's the awareness that not a soul around you knows who you are; so there's no judgement. To the person who happens to be walking along side you on that packed street, you're just someone doing what needs to be done at that moment. It's a liberating feeling.

Enlightenment is being alone in a crowd;
a feeling of oneness in a crowd - 
this is a sign of wisdom.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

I hardly consider myself enlightened or full of wisdom but I get what Shankar is saying. Being alone in a crowd is not necessarily a bad thing. Being alone in a crowded New York City on a spring day can be a thing of beauty.

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