Sedona comes to mind, or a Japanese garden, but Paradise…Paradise, California? Yes. Paradise is a place of peace. A “P.O.P” as we are calling calming~serene places we encounter on this journey. Paradise has a lot of parks; verdant, spacious parks where you are as likely to see outdoor tai chi as if you were in China. Being a retirement community it is quiet. Yes, that is peaceful, but yawn, can be a sleepy bore too. Not really in Paradise…where there are eccentric vagabonds and edgy big wheel truckers out and about, enough to spike you awake from a deep om chant. Though there are few sidewalks once you are off the main drag, the Skyway, Paradise is pretty walkable ( and we saw spright retirees, teens, and all kinds of folk walking often). The energy of walking creates peace in a place. One afternoon, we stopped in a new-to-us cafe. The vibe was homey and laid back. Patrons were hanging out on a big porch outside with inviting seats. We overheard a gaggle of middle-aged girlfriends with frosty perms talking, some of them just recently moved here from LA. Hmm, is Paradise “discovered”?….found by the roving tribes in this country looking for the just right, undiscovered, promised place? Is genrification edging closer? We looked around, at the pothole driveway for the cafe and its neighbors: an auto repair shop with a rusting patchwork of car junk scattered around and a tiny thrift-antique shop ( it seems like there are hundreds of these here, tucked all over Paradise’s Skyway and off Skyway streets). Nah, that seems like a far-far-far away world here. The girlfriends laughed easily and ordered more coffees. Peaceful.
When I spin ( hoop) I sense a place…get in touch with its energy, pace, and quality. I found Paradise to be a very good place to spin. There is a tranquility among the tall trees and parks that are never too busy.
When we lived in Chico we thought that we had a pretty good take on Paradise: that it was the closest place where there would be snow in the winter, that is was funky, and because it was a retirement place, it was boring. Now, many years later, as we drove through town on the Skyway, it looked like not much had changed. We followed the directions to a friend’s place and thought we would visit and skeedadle out the next day. But oh how we love to be surprised by a place we thought we had all figured out! The next day our friend showed us around some of her favorite parks and took us to a Tai Chi class at the community center. As we walked around a very peaceful pond at one of the parks and I spun by a fountain, there was instant interest by inquisitive and engaging retirees. Two days later I had a hoop fitness class in one of Paradise’s parks with vibrant, fun 60+ students!
The tai chi class was in a large open space with big windows facing a view of trees and space and the The Tai Chi teacher gave excellent, insightful, and holistic instruction. As I attempted crane move in a meditative yet alert state that the environment inspired, I stopped for a moment, where was I? I would expect this experience of transcendent excellence at a top retreat like Esalen. Our bodies still remember the calm and peace this class and instruction gave us. We will go out of our way and all the way to Paradise to take this class.
P.O.P’s are often not where you would expect….like Paradise, who we crown one of the Places of Peace.