My partner asked with mock horror. Sure, London in the depths of winter – especially straight after a wonderful holiday on a tropical island – gives one a lot to be miserable about.
“Naw,” I replied.
My fridge was empty (no milk even for a cup of tea!), I had a tonne of work emails piled up, I couldn’t find my gym locker key and worse of all, my eczema was playing up. But I wasn’t about to give him the satisfaction of telling me that he was right and I was wrong about moving back to London. So I put my running shoes on and went for a night run on the first evening I was back.
The Embankment in London is where thousands of people walk or drive past everyday without noticing its haunting beauty, bar a handful of eager tourists. There are a few interesting statues (such as Cleopatra’s Needle) and landmarks, but by and far, the charm of the Embankment is precisely that: it is ordinary. There was nothing spectacular about it that night – the usual flow of traffic, a few walkers on the pavement – and a sense of calm and peace descended on me. Thousands of miles away, the sun was shining and the Andaman ocean a sparking, liquid emerald; here, it was drizzly greyness, work and practicalities but it was nevertheless my life, my reality, where I am. And with that, the realisation that we may go on fantastic holidays, but we always have to come home. The moment is now.
I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.
TimeOut London recently published an article featuring beautiful walks around London. Walking/running for miles in the open is always a good emotional leveller. I guess it’s because it gives you the time to introspect and see beyond the demanding immediacy of your emotions to feel the “realness” within. It is a good precursor to meditation.
This is my favourite running trail. If you are ever in London, do take the time to explore it. Or if you are short of time, just take the Tube to Temple station, cross the road and BE ❤
You can read the article here.