Often times, I see and hear about people getting caught in the proverbial bubble, having this feeling of being stuck where they are. Life is just the same series of actions, over and over again; the feeling that what happens today is not any different from the next day. The feeling of being caught. How do you escape the bubble?
Last week a good buddy of mine returned from a trip to Southeast Asia. I would categorize him as a social butterfly. He is a man who has traveled frequently and is the type of person who will find the best and most interesting parts of any city he is in. He is an explorer and a fellow musician. He had originally gone on this trip to see family he had not seen in a very long time. The trip became a spiritual experience as he was able to travel from China through Vietnam, seeing the land of his ancestors and getting in touch with his family’s culture. He told me about some of the wild experiences he had, from joining the bandstand in a bar in Shanghai to running away from an angry mob down the Ho Chi Minh Trail after refusing to be ripped off.
Hearing him regale me with stories of his exploits, I am fascinated by the breadth of experience and somewhat envious of his ability to travel. I wouldn’t say I have put down roots in Boston, but I have created a life that is dependent by the work I do here. Working at Mayyim Hayyim in Newton as an office assistant does not offer many opportunities to travel the world. That is just the nature of the postion. But I am still exploring.
As a non-Jew working at a mikveh, I am constantly pushing the boundaries of what I know as I am literally surrounded by a different culture. I may be working on a project and from the lobby I will suddenly hear a chorus of people chanting in Hebrew. Frequently Yiddish phrases will be thrown around and people will have to stop and turn to me to translate. I recognize it is not the same degree of culture shock like being a westerner walking through the Forbidden City, but everyday I am surrounded by a different culture and world than my own. I am uniquely a resident visitor in this building.
What I have come to realize is that the bubble, like everything else, is first and foremost a perspective. Changing your geography is a fantastic way to bring a freshness to your life, but if you can’t change what you physically see everyday, change your mind’s eye.
Walton Clark is Mayyim Hayyim’s office assistant and jack of all trades. He is a working musician in Boston, playing keyboard and writing songs in a variety of groups. You can follow him on Twitter @walt_twitwalker and on Instagram @welaxer.