I’ve noticed that going someplace new, whether across town or across the world, makes me feel awake and alive. I’m alert to my new surroundings, trying to process what’s going on around me while simultaneously getting my bearings and connecting it with the map in my head that places me in the world.
For instance: I used to feel very anxious driving in San Francisco. I’d have to psych myself up for the trip, map out in advance how I would get to my destination and (deep breath) pray I’d find an easy parking spot when I got there. Crossing the Bay Bridge, my heart would start to pound and I’d turn the radio down so I could put my full attention on my surroundings and plan: remembering what exit to take, and being super alert for all the cars, cyclists, and pedestrians.
Now I live here, and it’s no big deal.
When something is familiar, it feels predictable. It’s like you know what it is, and how to manage. Stepping into the unknown can overwhelm the senses and provoke a feeling of being vulnerable and not in control. The new-ness can feel uncomfortable or exhilarating. Sometimes both.
The energy and attention of getting oriented and navigating new terrain invites you to grow. Sometimes it’s scary. It can be exhausting or terrifying if you are not prepared, supported, or wanting to be there. (If that’s true for you now, I’m sending a wish that you receive what you need for this part of your journey.)
Exploring new territory is one of the ways to remember that you are alive. It brings you into the present moment. It brings you to a place of Here I am. Explore a new street, or a new city. Leave a company. Start a company. Try a different cafe. Say hello to someone you don’t know yet. Take a dance class. Write a poem.
Explore in small ways and big ways. Practice feeling what it feels like: the uncertainty, the overwhelm, the rush, the clumsiness, the excitement.
Savor all of it.
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