"The rise or fall, success or failure of your dreams is largely dependent on the association you build yourself around." ― Israelmore Ayivor
I hope everyone had a safe and happy Independence Day weekend! Here in Brooklyn it was hard to tell the difference between 4th of July fireworks and any other night because our skies have been filled with sparkly explosions for so many nights now. On any given night this summer I can look north and west across Brooklyn toward Queens and Manhattan and watch several unofficial displays. On the 4th all I had to do was look out my bedroom window. My neighbors were shooting them up from the middle of the street at all hours. I've grown so used to the sounds, I fell asleep in the glow of aerial fireworks.
I've been thinking a lot this week about Independence, the mythic ethos of America. Really though, none of us are truly independent. We depend on the electric company to keep our lights and A/C running. We depend on the mail delivery. We depend on grocery store workers, delivery drivers, health care providers, and so many more in all of our various communities. Most importantly, we rely on our friends to help us smile and reflect our best selves back to each other, and we rely on our families to love unconditionally and perfectly imperfectly. You depend on a lot of people, and a lot of people depend on you, probably more than you know. As a society, whether we like it or not, we depend on each other to keep it all running. When the virus first appeared in New York City, I remember telling Dad there's no place I'd rather be because this city knows we function each day making hundreds of tiny negotiations for the greater good - like how we ride mass transit, walk down the sidewalk, and how we respond to a crisis. We've stepped up before and proven we can get through anything when we work together. New Yorkers understand this town works because of our dependence on each other.
I studied Buddhism for a while years ago (I often return to the wonderful writings of Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh.) but realized I could never call myself Buddhist because of their philosophical concept of Impermanence. Basically it means since nothing is permanent, our attachments can only bring suffering. But I like my attachments, and I love feeling connected to people - and pets too! It's the awareness of impermanence that makes the dependence all the sweeter. I'm happy to have people depend on me. It makes me feel valued and appreciated for the gifts I have to offer - like compassion, empathy, humor, integrity, honesty, love - and travel planning! Having to depend on someone involves trust and vulnerability, and it's a beautiful feeling to be trusting and vulnerable with another person.
Here at the start of another month of physically distancing from friends, family, and all the communities I cherish, I honestly didn't feel like celebrating Independence Day this year. I prefer to reflect instead on all the people, places, and things I unabashedly depend upon and celebrate them. When you're ready to travel, it will be my sublime pleasure to have you depend on Nine Muses Travel and my meticulous research, industry relationships, professionalism, and travel planning expertise.