Wednesday, March 19, 2014

the barcelona weigh station

Barcelona: where so many elements meet for me.
View from above St. Joseph's--en route to Parque Guell.

Barcelona, the penultimate day.

Spain is a special place, figuring quite prominently at the start of this recent phase of life journey. My love for it grows with each meeting.

I came to Madrid nearly three years ago to perform poetry with my friend Catalan-Filipino creative and poet Clara Balaguer (who I am incidentally meeting tonight and for the first time in Barcelona), an event that was so surprisingly random, unbelievable and spectacular but that is nowadays also strangely, beautifully commonplace.

Over the last year and a half, it’s been about Barcelona, though. Passing through seven times over the last nine months, it seems to be a recurring layer in a great multi-layered-life experience-cake. The first was just a day. But since then, each time I’ve come through, I spend more and more time here. Each time, the experience becomes more and more expansive.

This city has drawn me in. I have my favorite cafes, favorite plazas where I like to sit, people watch, take in the scenery. I can navigate the streets on foot now. I have friends here-- dear, good friends. And I have memories, quite a few landmark ones, some really beautiful and comforting, some sad and pensive, and a growing number of the mind-blowing/heart-opening kind.

It is many things for me, I recognize. And if to go into it all, there would be no end to it.  What is clear is that it is an important weigh station, where I am able to come and stop and assess between comings and goings.

Each time, I can’t help but note how different I am from the last time I was here, how different I feel, how the weight of experience has worked on me, and, thus, how differently I am interacting with the city and with those around me. How much more trust I have, how much more confidence and openness.

I can feel how with each succeeding visit I have become lighter but also more grounded. I have dropped unnecessary weight: sadness, self-doubt, grief, expectations—though I am sure there is a lot more to let go off.

I have put on some good weight, too: nourishing food and friendships, experience teaching and learning a city.

The time here, this prolonged stop of 2 months and a bit, has had an incredible balancing effect. Barcelona is not just a scale; it is beyond measurement. I feel its magic, the gentle support of its easy and yet powerful Mediterranean energy, its eclectic local and adopted inhabitants, its music, its sunniness despite the winter, its positive healing touch.  It’s given me time and space to simply be: to be with friends, to be with my practice and with the teaching, to be with myself.

Now, I feel neither light, nor heavy.  I feel full, not just in weight, but also in spirit.

So…gratitude abounds! I look forward the next visit to the Barcelona weigh station. 

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