Do you think it’s possible to find unremarkable things in the same place you find something beautiful and wonder how both coexist without destroying one another? Let me tell you how I came to notice a few things recently on a walk I took in a colorful community in the north section of Brooklyn, New York, called Bushwick.
In case you haven’t heard, Bushwick is the newest, trendiest place to live in Brooklyn. It’s not only one of the last affordable sections of Brooklyn that is between Manhattan and Queens, but it has the feel of the lower east side of Manhattan, but without the expenses of Manhattan, and the culture of some of the most diverse sections of Queens. It’s where all the cool kids live, or so I was told. It’s also where the mix of young, queer, dog-loving, hippie-chic millennials, and professional working-class people who have transplanted from all across the world reside, set up pop-up shops, party close together on sidewalks, sit on curbs amid filthy, graffiti-laden steps talking to strangers and hosting photo shoots.
I like Bushwick. It’s lively, and fun, but also reminiscent of small pockets of communities where families who still cook at home and sell valuable junk on the sidewalks garden their plants and wash their cars in the streets. It’s the dichotomy for me that opens my heart when I walk through that neighborhood. But, on this one day when I happened to be there, casually walking down a very trendy-looking street filled with new developments and doggie parks I couldn’t help but notice as I looked at the ground beneath my cream-colored cross-knot tied sandals the bounty of cigarette butts everywhere. There were half-smoked cigarettes and cigarettes smoked almost down to the bud. There were some with lipstick stains and others that lay in a pattern similar to a jigsaw puzzle. They were absolutely everywhere. As I kept walking, the numbers of medium to small pieces of white rolled paper multiplied. My heart broke. It wasn’t because of the pollution—though that would be a good enough reason for me to feel sad. It wasn’t because of the information we have about the effects of smoking—again, that wouldn’t be an absurd cause of my discontent either. I was sad because I thought that what I was looking at was a symbol for how much pain people must be in. Could all of those semi and fully smoked miniature tobacco sticks have been smoked by the same person? Maybe. Could they have been smoked by a handful of people who smoke in the same section every day? Possibly. Does it matter—whether it’s 1 person or several? What matters is how many times people were compelled to turn to nicotine to ease themselves. And that led me to think of you—yes, you, my incredible and awesome Village, the folks I write for each and every week. It made me wonder this question right here and that is “how do you notice when you’re in pain?” Are you able to notice when your pain feels unbearable, and is that the only way you notice it? Do you notice it when small signs point to misalignment in your work performance? Or in your ability to engage and connect with others? Or do you not notice it at all? I know that turned into more than 1 question. But, that 1 question I hope will open the pandora’s box a little so that you may be prompted to dig inside and inquire for yourself.
If you’re willing to go the extra step, I’d be delighted to read your thoughts on what you discovered about yourself. If you haven’t began your journey with journaling, remember we have these special little notebooks in our shop, just for you. Take a look!
Until next time Village, tell a friend to tell 5 friends to subscribe to our blog. We have something new in store for those of you who’ve been following along for the past year or more, coming your way soon!
*This blog is about becoming free. It’s a reflection of introspective thoughts and experiences that have crossed miles of self-discovery. I created this blog to inspire others to live life with less self-criticism, judgment and openness to new experiences. May you find that you learn how to live a life by design and on your own terms!*