Peace in the Chaos

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Living in New York can be overwhelming.  Especially if your job is demanding and requires longer hours, as many are and do.  These factors stress out the body and mind, and it can be difficult to reconnect to a deeper, truer, more vulnerable self at night, let alone pull away during the day to recenter oneself. 

I've found that little moments of reconnection throughout the day go a long way.  Small things like stepping away from my desk and breathing fully - even if I am not stressed - will prevent me from becoming anxious.

Little time outs during the day in peaceful places can totally alter our ability to handle more overwhelming situations.  Wandering into a nearby park and putting down my phone, focusing on the swell of the wind, the movement of the leaves, can help me to let it all go.  Stepping into a nearby church or temple that holds the energy of prayer changes my energy.  Good music and yogic breathing also always does the trick.  Or even just shaking it out.

On weekends, more substantial getaways to the woods, a retreat center, the mountains, or the ocean reinforces that this reality we have created is truly subjective and changes depending on perspective, mentality.  I have never tried "earthing" but that sounds pretty effective and like it could be transformative.  Minor, even seemingly basic and obvious, destress techniques actually can have a strong positive impact if performed in increments throughout the day.

Love Warrior

Monday, April 30, 2018

I discovered Love Warrior almost a year after it first published.  I was skeptical at first.  I work at a literary agency where we represent Glennon.  One of my best friends outside of work recommended the book to me.  She is deep and soulful, and I'm never disappointed with her recommendations, but for some reason I felt weary.  These days, so many people are preaching their own remedies to the ailments of life - claiming that they are spiritual, when in fact, they sugarcoat over their own vulnerability and lean toward spiritual materialism over raw spirituality. There was so much hype about this book in the press that it made me suspicious - skeptical that the uproar was disingenuous, or worse that the book itself was.  But, this book is transformative.  It is honest and raw, and it reaches out a hand to the reader as if to say, "it's okay, you are okay, I am here."

Just how Glennon sat in the stillness with her own pain, through her book, she sits with me in mine.   At one point in the book, Glennon goes alone to a hotel on the ocean: "The sound of the water speaks not to my spinning mind or yearning heart, but to my still strong soul.  The water is speaking in a language I knew before the world taught me its language."  I agree entirely.  So often we try to sew up our lives, check off boxes, get "organized," in such a way that alienates our own humanity and proposes that we are instead robots.  Well, I am not a robot and I also refuse to be a type-a person...if that is even actually a thing. 

Thank you, Glennon, for tearing off your mask and being strong.  Thank you for being real in a world where so many people are distracted by layers of illusion. 

Winter in Block Island

Friday, March 23, 2018

A few weeks ago, during President's Day Weekend, we went to Block Island, off the coast of Rhode Island.  It was so quiet.  I caught myself thinking that a highway was nearby at several points, but it was just the dull roar of water hitting the rocks on every side of the island.

It was magical - as winter always is in summerlands.  We wandered through the nature preserve, bike road to the grocery store, walked the island, and to top it all off, I watched the sunset with a glass of rose in my hand. In the city, it can be easy to get in a mindset where the idea of a slower life seems boring or dull in comparison to the constant stimulation of New York.  This is so far from the truth though.  I wonder if we trick ourselves into thinking this way.  Why do we think that more is better?  I only want more of what is pure and necessary.  Everything else is just noise.

In the water are windmills, which harness the momentum of the wind generated just off coast from the open water.  They are beautiful.  They are an image of clean energy - not of the future but of right now.  If we fully cooperated with (rather than depleted) nature, energy prices would drop and dirty ways of generating energy would also diminish (looking at you, fracking and coal mining).

Music That Frees You When You're Trapped In An Office

Friday, February 23, 2018

Sometimes a song comes on that sets you free, like a fresh wind off of a lake.  It is so magical when, surreptitiously, an incredibly fitting piece of music plays at just the right moment.  Certain songs can evoke an open field on a summer evening, even when you're holed up in a gray office with wall to wall green carpeting.

These songs never fail to inspire me: 

Valentino by Diane Birch
Ave Maria by Liber Luminosa
Airwaves by Ray Lamontagne
Dog Years by Maggie Rogers
Alaska by Maggie Rogers
Havana by Camila Cabello
Sweet Lord by George Harrison
Call It What You Want by Taylor Swift
Straightjacket by Quinn XCII
Numpty by Paolo Nutini
Gold Dust Woman by Fleetwood Mac


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking is a portrait of grief during the year following her husband's death.  She pinpoints the vagueness and totality of grief accurately and beautifully (based on what I experienced), cataloguing her unwillingness to throw out the last of her husband's shoes, for the wish that he would somehow one day return.  This book encourages inward thinking, self healing, and offers a perspective with distance - a perspective that illuminates what truly matters in life... As Joan writes, life can change in an instant.

"We have no way of knowing that the funeral itself will be anodyne, a kind of narcotic regression in which we are wrapped in the care of others and the gravity and meaning of the occasion.  Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief as we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself."

At the same time that her husband died, Joan Didion's young adult daughter was in the ICU, in a coma.  This combination of trauma is baffling and The Year of Magical Thinking is Joan's attempt to piece it all together, to swallow and face the drastic upheaval that occurs.

Healing Sickness and Other Priorities

Monday, January 8, 2018

It can be difficult to find real balance or harmony in a society where priorities are not necessarily aligned with well-being or operating at one's highest potential.  I often hear others complain about a situation relating to imbalance, though many resentfully accept where they are, too complacent or overworked to evoke a meaningful lifestyle change.  I have experienced this before myself and now know that when I feel that nagging feeling of unrest, it is time to take action and invoke change.  An imbalanced lifestyle can create a space for sickness - a quick cold, the flu, or even more debilitating states. 

A few weeks ago, I felt the onset of a cold.  It came after feeling run down for a few weeks - both physically and emotionally.  Rather than tackling both of these issues head on, I was too overwhelmed to act timely.  I settled into them and got sick and along with the cold, came some negativity.  I felt the urge to complain - which is not very typical.  I turned to meditation and Oprah's Super Soul Sunday for a pick me up.  It became apparent that I was not validating my worth.  In allowing myself to be run down physically, and spiral into negative thinking, I was ignoring my innate worth as a human being to be well treated.  I changed my thought patterning and reprioritized what was important (ie. health is more important than work, socializing, etc.) and suddenly I felt better.  And it was like I'd never been sick at all.  I am by no means an expert, but I've witnessed these pillars in action and intellectually they make sense.  Getting sick is a warning for me to listen to my body more closely - to ask for grace and calm.  It is all knowing and just as I needed it, pulled me back into a slower pace, a safer and healthier rhythm.

Little Fires Everywhere

Monday, December 25, 2017

LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE by Celeste Ng is a tightly woven web of intersecting lives of characters impacted by child bearing and rearing.  Ng's writing is poignant and precise: "The firemen said there were little fires everywhere...Multiple points of origin.  Possible use of accelerant.  Not an accident."  The book itself is fire.

© Wild Hearted 2016.

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