I stared out the window of Delta's flight #2280 mesmerized by the city. Its intricate layers of man's creations. All packed one on top of the other. I knew while still up above it all that I was going to fall in love with the city. It had already begun.
Stepping out of my Ūber onto the streets of the East Village I couldn't help but notice each small café, restaurant, and shop. All with its own unique style and design. The smells of the city filling my nostrils I began to feel welcomed with each passing minute. As if the concrete jungle was calling for exploration.
Spending my first few days wandering the jungle of skyscrapers, old churches, museums, and exhibits. I walked by foot and eventually found City Bike (a genius invention). I became completely immersed in observation. The continuous flow of the city. Millions of people all moving and living in a system that seemed to never stop.
As I began to meet the people of New York I understood why this city had the reputation it did. A city of individuals with no time for anything but the hustle. It is a place where you eat or are eaten. A place where competition is of the highest level in all fields. The people I had the honor of meeting were world changers. People of intellect, innovation, creativity, drive, and passion. People with interesting stories to tell. People not afraid to share their opinions and knowledge. It became a continuous lesson filled with curiosity, learning, and endless questions.
Working with Bent On Learning an organization that is bringing yoga into the public school systems of New York was an absolute pleasure. Seeing the difference they are making in the everyday lives of the cities children was incredible. I believe in a city as hectic and sporadic as New York. To teach the children a way to slow things down and connect with your inner self is mandatory. Without a mindfulness practice in a such a place. I see how you could lose yourself so easily.
The next organization I had the opportunity to work with was the Teak Fellowship. A group of highly educated and impressive individuals that are generating our future geniuses. An organization that takes low income inner city children that are driven and willing to put in the extra work. These children are put through a rigorous middle school and high school program outside of the school system. Passionate about learning and education these children are helped to enter the nation's most renowned high schools and colleges. Coming from very little you can feel they understand the blessing of education. Something I believe most of us take for granted.
As my time in New York City came to a close I had gained a whole new appreciation for the city and its diverse people and cultures. A melting pot of the world's brightest and most creative minds. A place filled with beauty and with struggles. A place with no time for anything but the hustle, grind, and flow. Where if you are not growing and evolving you are being left behind.
A left a piece of my heart in the city. Knowing I would be back. Next stop..... Paris. Finally time to leave the country and experience some new cultures and languages. France je viens ici.