You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2014.

Everyone I know has been posting the most beautiful pictures on social media, chronicling their summer vacations, with enviable captions like, “The perfect summer day!” and “Life should always be like this. #poollife” and “I’ve never been so relaxed…ahhhh.”

I, on the other hand, have felt depleted, spent and anxious.

Having spent the better part of a summer Friday working, including waiting for a conference call that never happened, I took advantage of the last few hours of daylight and went for a sanity walk in Central Park.

My favorite spot in the park, The Lake, has been my place of refuge ever since I moved to New York City almost two decades ago. Sometimes it is crowded and noisy, and I just pass through, admiring the beauty as I walk away. This particular evening though, cloudy and uncharacteristically cool, I found it quiet. Happily.

I sat down, closed my eyes and breathed in the cool air. There it was, the pocket of peace that had eluded me all day.

The light was beautiful, illuminating the trees and the reflections of the buildings surrounding the park. Always looking to take the perfect photograph of my favorite place, I began taking pictures with my camera phone.

A gondola came into the frame and looked oddly – and yet, perfectly – romantic against the impending dusky sky. I snapped away, framing the gondola against the backdrop of the Central Park West landscape. As I put my phone down, I noticed a couple in the boat. Then, I saw the man smoothly move from where he was sitting and crouch down on one knee.

I saw the woman gasp, then nod her head as she said yes to his proposal.

This was my perfect summer moment.

Love is everywhere. This love, though not mine, somehow lightened my mood. This couple, so full of joy and romance they promised each other a future, made me feel hopeful in what lies ahead. Love does that. In that way, I suppose it belongs to us all.

I hope you experience it for yourself.

xo, with goodness and grace.

IMG_5014.JPG

Advertisements

Have you ever had a time in life when you just couldn’t stop moving?  When you would just go and go and go, spinning round and round like one of those merry go rounds with the creepy horses, endlessly moving so you cannot stop?

The last few weeks of summer has been like that for me, filled with so many things.  And when my plate was empty, I didn’t want to stop.  Like a person on a mission—to do what, I’m still not quite sure—I just kept going and going, not wanting to sit still or stay home or do the laundry that desperately needed to be done.

This past week, of course, my body made me stop.

Actually, I tried to ignore the signs at first.  When my chest felt heavy on the first day, I convinced myself that I’d pushed too hard in my workout the day before. When the waves of nausea hit, I thought I’d just had too much water too close to eating a big meal.  Denial.  I kept going, making myself a batch of soup with some beautiful heirloom tomatoes I’d scored in the greenmarket.

The second day, I finally admitted I felt like crap, so I sat down and fervently started working on my computer.  Personal projects needed some attention, so there I was, pushing and not resting, the exact opposite of what my body wanted from me.

And then my computer crashed for no good reason.

It reminds me of a time that seems so long ago, when I worked in a furniture store.  My boss—who in times of stress leaned on his Napoleanic tendencies—had infuriated me for reasons I cannot remember now.  I was so angry, and my agitated, fire-hot energy was palpable.  I walked away from the situation to do something that needed to be done, which was to bring a rectangular glass coffee table top from one storeroom to the other.

This being California, you had to go outside to go from one door to the other.  I went to the other storeroom and pulled out the heavy glass, the whole time replaying the conversation in my head, becoming angrier and angrier the more I thought about it.  I continued carrying on in my head, walking outside, managing to shut the door with my foot while safely holding the five foot-long piece of glass.  Rage was building up inside me as I walked towards the other door and I sighed, trying to release the angry energy.

Suddenly, without warning, glass flew everywhere.  In my hands, it had simply shattered.  I hadn’t dropped it or hit it or knocked into anything.  It simply exploded.

This was my first lesson in the power of energy.

So in my not feeling well, coupled with my computer not working, I could see magic at work.  This, I’ve learned, is when you need to heed the wisdom the universe is laying down before you.

Finally I said, okay.  Okay, I get it.  Tell me what you want me to do.

I sat on my couch, swaddled in my down comforter, and watched Beaches and Dead Poet’s Society.  Because when you feel bad, really, you just need some things to make you feel just a little bit worse.  (Or is that just me??)

The movies made me think about artistry and what I wanted more of in my life – friendship, love, craftsmanship of the written word – and my sofa made me rest. For the next three days, I napped and rested and watched things that inspired me.

And I ate comforting homemade soup, which thankfully I had the foresight to make.

Roasted Heirloom Tomato Soup

This week, may you find the space to rest when you need it and may you use your energy wisely.

xo, with goodness and grace.

I’m so humbled and grateful to have this very personal piece up on Jennifer Pastiloff’s website, The Manifest-Station, which not only features Jen’s incredible work (if she comes to your town with one of her workshops or retreats, I urge you to sign up – they are life-changing!), but also guest posts from an array of phenomenal writers. Be sure to check out the site if you haven’t already… xo

The Manifest-Station

Longing. By Dena Young.

I can remember just a few months back, sitting under a tree, lamenting the change of season.  Spring was shifting into summer and, though I love summer, I could already feel a longing for the early bloom of springtime.

This was the first year, maybe ever, I felt present every day, open to the new life unfolding.  I allowed myself to have my breath taken away at each turned corner, open to the surprise of a burst of yellow from the forsythia that always seem to appear first, then to the patches of pink tulips, drooping from the weight of their too-heavy heads.  I loved crossing the street and being charmed by the powerful scent of hyacinths and the voluptuous lushness of cherry blossoms. I let it amaze and astonish me.

And then I began to mourn it, even before it was over.

This is a pattern of mine, missing things…

View original post 1,149 more words

I am not a morning person.

But a combination of early workouts and sporadic insomnia mean I am often up at the first peek of dawn, literally.  I have come to love the peace of the early morning and its quiet stillness.  You can feel the happiness—contentment, I guess is a better word—within reach this early.  Especially in New York City, where noise is in ever fiber of this town.

The beauty of the early hours is you are not in the company of anyone who doesn’t actually want to be there.  It’s you and the dogs out for their walk and the pigeons in search of food and the small children who understand daylight is where the fun happens.  Morning means peace, before the worry starts to kick in.

There is an August ritual in New York City called Summer Streets, where a long stretch of Park Avenue is closed off to traffic in the morning on three consecutive Saturdays. New Yorkers take full advantage of this, descending on the streets to roam, ride bikes, jog, and take part in activities the city has installed along the way. It’s a fun mix of energy, laughter and giddiness.

But I wanted to know what it was like before everyone showed up.

It was heaven.

Grand Central Terminal, as we never get to see it.  This road is closed to pedestrians normally, so to approach the front of the building is to see a work of beauty.  Except for a few bikers and joggers, I was blessed with empty, peaceful stretches of city and up close views of this landmark.

IMG_9830

IMG_9828

IMG_9732

IMG_9831

May you know stretches of peace and roads leading to possibility throughout the coming week.

xo, with goodness and grace.

 

 

How rare it is to have a day with nothing scheduled, nothing that urgently needs to be done.  I took advantage of the day, full of drizzly weather, and stayed in.

My highlight was a lazy lunch in bed—the simplest plate of nuts spiced with herbs de provence, a runny cheese and fresh figs, all voluptuous and sweet.  It was delicious and uncomplicated, everything summer should be.

Lunch

I hope you find space for at least one lazy afternoon this week.

xo, with goodness and grace.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: