Rio, I love you! I still can’t believe I willingly chose to leave and return to NYC weeks before Carnival. Ok, I’m not much of a party animal anymore and I have been twice already, and I would have had piles of people puking on my doorstep for sure. C’est la Vie!
This amazing tilt-shift video shows the absolute beauty and power of this amazing city, not to mention the extreme depth and magnetism of the Carioca culture. This encapsulates why & how this city won my heart for 10 amazing months of my life. Actually, it is the only other city than NYC that has had such a powerful effect on me, such that I feel magnetically pulled to implant myself into the culture. That said, when you look deeply at a film like this, it becomes clear that these kinds of experiences are only created by extremely intricate and unique cultural patterns. These are not built easily. I was able to experience enough in Rio to say that the Carioca culture is certainly one of the most complex and fascinating cultures I’ve yet to experience. It’s truly a magical place. And this is exactly why today it is experiencing a massive renaissance. Everybody loves Rio and people are moving there in swarms. Living on Ipanema Beach, I was shocked to find that the cost of living (rent, food and beyond) is now arguably more expensive than NYC. And the prices continue to rise. Incredible!
But looking deeper, it’s clear that my love of travel is much more about the people. I’m fascinated by culture, which also explains my deep love for New York.
Last night I was having an interesting conversation with two friends about culture, both it’s beauty & it’s challenges. On one side, it’s the color that adds so much beauty to life. And on the other, it get’s in the way of allowing us to be individuals with the freedom of being ourselves, removed from judgement from society (our culture). As one of my friends said, I always wanted to follow my dream to be a filmmaker, but that simply was not an option in the eye’s and mind’s of my family. She spoke of this Indian Guilt that dominates the lives of so many. Imagine being a homosexual in The Middle East, or most of the world for that matter. Or worse, imagine being raised in a Pakistani clan where honor killings are the mode of dealing with unacceptable behaviors w/i that culture. Or back home in the US, rejecting a military career within a long family lineage of officers. The list goes on and on…
So, what do we do about this culture thing? How do we find a balance, enabling us to be free to be ourselves and follow our unique life’s purpose, while at the same time honoring our traditions? And are all traditions worthy to live on, such as honor killings?
I’m asking these questions more and more these days because I’m thinking more and more about how to shift patterns of behavior so that we can achieve more harmony in life. And shifting anything is a process! And to do that requires a process in itself. What is that process that allows us to shift our behaviors such that we honor ourselves and others for our unique qualities while at the same time realizing our oneness. I’ve been thinking about two seemingly disconnected points and how they might create a ‘tensegrity,’ or the integrity created by the tension between the two. First, life has no meaning, except the one that our minds give it. And the second is that every human interaction must produce a ‘win’ for all stakeholders, including the environment and society. Imagine if we realized and acted upon our life affirming freedom to choose and manifest the life we feel and know we deserve to live. And then it is further affirmed by each interaction, which empowers and enables us to live out this truth. This is freedom and it’s a choice, albeit not always an easy one. But there are countless examples of individuals freeing themselves from persecution and traveling massive distances (both internally & externally) to manifest their truth.
So, my big question is, what’s stopping us? The only ‘real’ answer that holds up in my mind is…me! I’m the only one that is EVER getting in the way of manifesting MY dreams and life’s purpose. The good news is that I’m the one controlling this body that carries me through life and therefore, I’m the only one to remove these perceptual blocks.
Enough said, time to rock & roll!