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goodbye dc, hello paradise.

June 12, 2011

When it comes to technical writing—essays, analytical pieces, research papers—I’m remarkably confident in my ability to “wow” the reader with logical thought, cohesive writing and exceptional organization. For some reason, however, when asked to write a creative piece [such as a blog, for example] that confidence and gusto walks straight at the door and leaves me with a rambling, wandering piece, where by the end of my writing session I can barely remember what point I was trying to make [assuming I even had one at all].

I’ve struggled for almost a week now with how exactly to introduce myself to the world of blogging, wanting to develop a first post that captured the essence of my theme and my being in a playful and clever way. After days of stress and struggle, however, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is just not going to happen quite as I had initially envisioned. I’m not so proficient a writer that I have the ability to captivate my audience if I’m not, in that moment, feeling inspired myself. Fortunately, after a Sunday afternoon spent totally blissed out in DC, I’ve rediscovered that happiness that made me decide to start a blog—this blog—in the first place.

After a long day of cleaning my room: organizing closets, throwing away unnecessary memories, packing up storage bins and doing laundry—I was ready for a much needed nap… instead, I went with my friend Anna and her dog Lola down to Malcolm X [Meridian Hill] Park in DC for the weekly Sunday afternoon drum circle.

MXP [as the park is lovingly called by regular attendees] is, for lack of a more sophisticated term, a truly magical place. [So magical, in fact, that I sometimes find pure joy and emotion inhibits my ability to express the vibrancy and happiness that pervades the park and drum circle participants appropriately in words. Fortunately, the Washingtonian captured its quintessence in this article.]

The park is an organism that comes to life around 3 PM, peaking around 6:30, when its rumbling heartbeat can be heard from the street as the sounds of drums and whistles reverberate off of surrounding buildings. While the drummers are the engine driving the machine, also adding fuel to the fire are the other participants: the barefooted bohemians who arrive with yoga mats, hula hoops, art supplies and slacklines in tow. A first-time observer will quickly realize that the event is a mixing bowl of cultures, personalities and quirks, tied together by a common thread of love and an interest in making new friends and sharing knowledge. There is a certain warmth present in the people there, best understood through experience. Attend with an open mind and an open heart and there’s a good chance you’ll leave having tried hula hooping, juggling or acroyoga and even, perhaps, starred in a low-budget movie or music video. It is this apparent ability to approach strangers to be greeted with a warm smile and handshake or and an immediate invitation to come and take part in whatever they happen to be doing that brings me back week after week after week: it’s drum circle love.

Being at the drum circle fills me with comfort, with love and happiness and fullness that reminds me just how essential being able to connect with people is to my own wellbeing. Hula hooping? Reading? Cooking? Climbing?—all of these activities have contributed to how I’ve come to see myself. But at the core, it’s not these hobbies themselves that fill my heart with radiating joy, most often it’s the people I meet through my interest in these things, the friendships that are facilitated, the lives that I touch and the contributions these people make to how I understand myself, that put a smile on my face.

I’ve spent years now daydreaming of travel—seeing the world and learning through experience. After working hard for the past year, behind a desk at a company that was like a vacuum for positive energy, I finally feel that mentally, emotionally and financially it is my time to embark on an adventure. And while leaving all of my friends and family in the DMV will be bittersweet, for once I am not worried about “missed opportunities” at home. Because the drum circle serves as a reminder that the world is filled with amazing people, I just have to be open to share love when I encounter them.

So here’s to seizing opportunities, treasuring human interactions, and seeking out inspiration, enlightenment and passion in whatever form they make take in my travels throughout the world.

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