It is often too tempting to stay in and sit listlessly watching the TV or surfing the web. I can’t count the hours I’ve spent watching YouTube videos or randomly clicking on links, all with the same thought “Some{thing|one} entertain me”. In his book, “How To Be Miserable: 40 Stratagies You Already Use”, Randy J Paterson notes this as a fairly realiable way of being unhappy. 

The trick of course is to take yourself out of that situation and find something new. And that is where the cities parks come in. 

I felt the need this morning to get out and change my view. So as I write this, I’m sitting in a Starbucks overlooking The Meadows. There’s greenery and people wandering by. It isn’t raining and the sun is quite bright. As Sunday morning’s go, this is nice. And all only a 15 minute scooter from my house. 

I’ve escaped. In a short distance I’ve been able to leave behind the temptations of TV and the internet (though I am writing this on an internet connected device) and the idea of sitting listless. There is a strong tradition of people escaping. I’ve read the books (or seen the films) such as “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed or Bill Bryson’s “A Walk In The Woods” and I’ve been inspired by people make the decision to go out and find something. 

There is a saying that the only Zen you find at the top of a mountain is the Zen you take with you. This may be the case but what the top of the mountain does is strip away the cares and concerns of normal life and leaves you facing only what you brought with you. And it doesn’t have to be a mountain. In this park there are trees that have stood watching over this space for decades if not centuries. Petty cares pass them by like the clouds in the sky. 

The act of escaping, of going to a place where there is only you and what you’ve brought with you is essential for reflecting on life and is an essential step that needs to be taken on a regular basis. 

And now my coffee is done it is time to head out and see what Zen I have. The rain has started but that doesn’t matter, I came prepared.