Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons

Californians love their cars. Here the car is celebrated, daily commutes the stuff of urban legend.

New York has Times Square and Lady Liberty, Washington the White House, but California’s architectural symbols are bridges and freeways.

Suburban sprawl made cars a necessity; massive freeways were our only connection to distant offices and malls. It felt like freedom and convenience to go everywhere in our cars.

Yet what a difference it makes living in a community conducive to walking! If I’m not practicing yoga, I’m walking. Walking awakens my creative process, allowing me to meditate and contemplate our life force and oneness of being. Even though I am walking briskly, I readjust my concept and perception time and space.

Walking alerts my senses to the vivid stimulations around me, the smells of hot pavement and roasting coffee, making the streets come alive. Fluorescent green hummingbirds and the sound of morning doves cooing delight me. Walking enables me to see, smell and feel on an intimate level.

Walking increases a community’s safety; more eyes around deter vandalism and crime. It also benefits our physical and mental health, maintaining a better quality of life.

On foot we access secret places cars can’t reach; we discover inside courtyards, secluded pathways, fascinating buildings. Because I walk, buildings are my landmarks, not street signs.

Walking Downtown builds our community. When we greet our neighbors and smile to people we might not even know, we’re spreading the vibrancy of life.

While feeling life’s vitality from walking and meditating we create a noticeable aura that echoes within our community. Is this the butterfly effect, where one tiny action resonates later on, far away? Can our smallest actions have a profound effect? It maybe impossible to calculate just what results might come of anyone’s action, yet we can assume, as an act of faith perhaps, that good will generate further good. Can the simple act of walking to work or lunchtime yoga have an effect that forever, to the end of time, and eventually in every corner of the cosmos, changes the world?

I contemplate...Can a smile to a neighbor bring world peace?

Melissa Embree (CityFront Terrace) and her dog Blue Eyes stroll the Promenade before going off to work. She exchanges pleasantries with Dick Fuller (Horizons) walking his standard poodle, Beau.

Walter Rask (600 Front) and Beverly Schroeder (Porto Siena) both walk to work at CCDC in the NBC 7/39 building and notice CCDC’s redevelopment coming to life.

Jason Ellis (Treo@Kettner) is excited about the residential construction (and future neighbors) he passes on his walk to work.

Alice Tuthill (City Walk) often takes different walking routes, exploring her new neighborhood and meeting her neighbors.

It makes me excited to see neighbors conveying a genuine expression of happiness they can’t help feel while walking Downtown. Their aura creates an unknown number of beautiful effects, within our community and far beyond. - April 3, 2003

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