A little park therapy New York City style

Back in May my hubby and I took a trip to NYC. He had to go for meetings so I happily tagged along. Although known as the city that never sleeps  I need to take naps these days so they had to be built into the plan. So did meditation, chilling out, walking and eating well ( most of the time). I decided to do a low key version of NYC and it was amazing. My hubby was in meetings during the day so I had from 8 am to 6 pm all to myself. What a treat, I rarely spend time just by myself and I was looking forward to it. what ever would I do with this gift of time in such an incredible city?

New York is a perfect walking city and I did lots of it. I planned my days so that I could stop in parks along the way to rest and eat ice cream while doing some pretty awesome people watching. The three parks I spent a lot of time in were Central Park, Bryant Park and Washington Square Park. Each one was very different and very alive with the energy of NYC.  Central Park was a mish mash of tourists taking pictures, locals going for bike rides or runs and  horse drawn carriages. This park has such a rich history. It got me wondering about what the park was like a hundred years ago and how much has changed since then. It really is a very special part of the city. I saw two turtles there just sunning themselves on a rock, going slow and enjoying it. It reminded me to slow down and not rush through my trip.

Bryant Park was incredible because in the morning I sat there for tea and it was empty and quiet as the city was slowly getting moving. By lunchtime it was packed with hundreds of chairs and tables filled with people escaping the office to sit in the sun and eat their lunches. It was awesome. I have never seen that many people eating their lunch all at once in a park in Toronto – ever.  It had a such a good energy about it. So I joined them and got a sandwich and sat by myself near the fountain watching the world go by. The sandwich was from a stall called Wichcraft and it was divine. Eating on my own gave me time to really taste my food, kind of like doing a little eating mediation. It brought me into the present moment. There are so many cool things going on in this park everyday; yoga classes, Tai Chi,storytime. They even have ping pong, chess and a carousel! Best use of a small park space I have ever seen.

Washington Square Park had a very welcoming energy. There was a special kids play area that people were only allowed in if they had children. You could hear the sounds of little kids laughing and it made me smile. There was an amazing off leash dog area – seriously it was so cool – it even had it’s own little splash pad. The park had so many benches as everyone from mommies and babies to high school kids to touring couples were taking some time to pause and chat, rest or eat. A great jazz band was playing and I could have just sat there all day, doing nothing, just being present to the life energy around me. I also found a juice bar that I loved nearby called Juice Generation. They made a crazy delish juice called Get Ur Green On – oh yeah, so good.

In between parks I walked the busy city streets in silence. Being silent amongst the chaos and liveliness of NYC was very interesting. It was therapeutic in a strange way. I was there but also completely anonymous as I blended into the crowds. As I walked a weird thing happened. All kinds of emotions started coming up about the journey I have been on and where I am at now. I thought about my family, my kids mostly and all they have had to go through the past few years while I have been in cancer treatment. The tears started to roll but not in a sad way, more in a cleansing way. Acknowledging what the past 2 years has been like and letting go so I can move forward with life. I felt like I was on my own little retreat in a way. I knew walking the city would be fun and interesting but I never expected it to also be so healing.

I had planned to go to yoga classes, get a spa treatment, maybe find a place to meditate  but instead I just enjoyed time to myself to clear my head and walk where I wanted, eat when I wanted and rest when I wanted. It was a totally different side of New York for me and I loved it.

So simple and so just what I needed. Thank you New York. xo








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