Sunday, 7 September 2014

Biking the Bays & Existentialism - Making Sense of the world...

Island Bay
 Hello Everybody,
It's been a little while since my last post. There have been huge life changes since the last post and some truly amazing trips around New Zealand. I haven't posted about those things as they were linked to very personal things and so I keep those details off-line.
Day to day life has continued in it's usual vain, including almost daily conversations about the increasing numbers of young people seen by mental health services who present with anxiety, depression and emotional dysregulation. Is this a Wellington Trend, a NZ trend or wider reaching issue across similar countries and cultures? Could there be a generational factor to these presentations?
Island Bay
 Today's bike ride (where all today's pictures come from) got me thinking about the role of the environment in the increasingly used process of mindfulness (becoming mindful of any given moment), and the idea of 'finding your place in the world' - a common statement which seems to over used and misunderstood by many people today.
Lyall Bay
 During today's cycle around the Bays of Wellington and the South Coast of the North Island, there were plenty of opportunities to become mindful of each hill climb, each empty bay and each wave that lapped up onto the shore.
Towards Breakers Bay
 Since living here I often wonder if people from New Zealand think about their own environment and the very unique and special resources it provides them. I am not talking about materials like wood and coal, or fish.. but the actual sense of escapism and sense of safety and calm that exists here.  Of course this sense of environment is comparative to what you know right? I know streets of terraced and semi-detached housing in the North of England, traffic jams and bustling towns and cities, so New Zealand and Wellington feels like a paradise. Does the sense of safety and peacefulness that I feel living here, does this actually lead natives of New Zealand to feel isolated (from the rest of world) and lost in their sense of life's meaning?
Above Seatoun
 New Zealand can often be described as being at the end of the earth, and if you watched the main stream media or read local papers you may be forgiven for thinking you had indeed reached a place that thrives on the land... diary and cattle drives the economy. Is it possible that a sense of isolation and a perception that New Zealanders strive to show the world what they can do, might explain a sense of feeling lost here, for some people? - if you haven't moved away from New Zealand or haven't found a way to 'make your mark' in a land of ingenuity?
 Here in the beautiful and quiet surrounding of Schorching Bay, allow you to find some ingenuity and creativity in the form of a sea shell mural alongside the cafe...

Sea Shell mural - Schorching Bay
 Living off the land may enhance a sense of belonging and certainly catching your own food could be considered an activity that helps develop a healthy sense of self, so when seeing this next picture I began wondering about the idea of supporting some of the clients that come public services to engage in activities like fishing. Not as a suggestion though, no, more like a prescription. Go spend time with the land, develop a sense of belonging, serve your family / friends / self with food caught by your own hand - use the time to become / practice mindfulness.
 As the journey moves away from isolated bays and small beaches we move closer to the city. Therefore the sights you see begin to reflect the change in environment and need. Sea Shell murals are replaced by slightly larger buildings, and the entertainment around a cafe is no longer solely provided by the land (sand & sea), but by manufactured toys and games. A sense of environmental importance remains present with old buildings are transformed with new purposes, but the old look is kept acting as a reminder of past use. Wellington is great as recycling spaces, to minimize wastage. 
Chocolate Fish Cafe - Shelly Bay
 Oriental Parade (Below) basks in sunshine and splendour, hotels, cafe's and restaurants come into view and so do people. Lots of people (by Wellington standards) stroll around and sip coffee, eat ice creams, (that's normally me), and chase after their kids on bicycles and scooters (of the non-motorized kind). A sense of growth and the city are clear, but yet it's only 5-10 minutes cycling away from remote bays and beaches. There is real in between here. You can be in the city or you can be in the wilderness....
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Oriental Bay...

Oriental Bay
 I finally arrive home after 35k, and despite being in a built up area of the city, 50 yards from a huge supermarket, several take-out places and bars - Living here, I still see the ocean and mountains from the apartment. It really is like nothing I have quite experienced before.
At the end of the day...
 Do I know my place in the world / life? Did I always feel part of something important or just hold a perception of England / UK / Europe being a big and important place in the world? Was I brought up to have realistic expectations of life which lessened the chance of me feeling constantly disappointed? I know young people in the UK have existential issues, and the rates of anxiety, depression and emotional dysregulation are also increasing there, so perhaps there are other more important factors?

All in all, I know only one thing for sure from today. My place in the world is determined by the people I want to be with, and my sense of feeling connected has come from interacting with people in the world around me - wherever that has been. My current physical environment offers lots of chance to reflect, consider and be mindful of life and it's challenges. 
An early evening moon above Wellington...
Good night from New Zealand

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