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New Yorkers are romantics.  Underneath the hurried and sometimes gruff demeanor lies a deep appreciation for beauty and grace.

A perfect example is how so many New Yorkers flocked to see the sun setting on the west side of the city this week.  It shouldn’t be funny to me, but year after year it is, how at this time every year people take to the streets for Manhattanhenge, a phenomenon where the sun sets exactly on the grid of the city’s crosstown streets. People literally fling themselves into the middle of the roads, dodging traffic, so they can capture a photo of the centered sun.

Many of us live these insular lives in New York, ones where we sit in tiny apartments, not knowing our neighbors, far removed from the movement of life down on the streets below our windows. We can live these lives where the only people we see are the delivery men who bring us takeout meals because we are often too busy and frazzled to make our own food.

So it’s beautiful that so many left their apartments to sit and wait for an hour or two in anticipation of the most beautiful sunset of the year.

It makes me smile that a mass hysteria of sorts ensues because people want to see beauty.  It’s humbling to see such openness to receiving the light.

IMG_6124

It’s what we’re all looking for, isn’t it?  May your week be filled with beauty and light.

xo, with goodness and grace.

 

After I wrote my the last post on self care, I realized two things.

One: the time from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday this year is actually not 40 days, but a week longer.  So, we’re really looking at 47 days of self care, y’all.

The second thing I’ll save for next week.  I need time to ponder that lesson first.

But, you know how I see signs of love everywhere?  (And, by the way, I’m convinced so do you…you just may not know it yet.)  Well, they are slowly being mixed in with signs of magic.  Love and magic—isn’t that an awesome thought? That is how life should be.

Around Christmas time, I saw a stencil for sale in ABC Carpet & Home, a magical store with a quirky assortment of furniture, lighting, and other assorted things for the home.  The stencil itself was beautiful, all glittery and gold.  But its message made me smile.  It said, “In Pursuit of Magic”.  The creators’ mission is described on their website this way:

“In Pursuit of Magic: two female street artists on a crusade to elevate consciousness and amplify meaning in the world.”

How cool is that?  Every now and then, I see those words around the city, where someone has decided the spread the message of magic.

My week was kicked off when I saw this on a construction wall on Houston Street.

Magic - Wall

Seeing love and magic together, I trusted it was a sign of goodness to come.

Day 34:  Sometimes on your way home from work, you get sidelined at the counter at Murray’s Cheese and suddenly there’s a very urgent need to have cheese and wine for dinner.

Cheese-Wine Dinner

And so you do.  And it is comfort and happiness on a plate.

Day 35: Sunsets never get old for me. The most beautiful ones command attention, so I stopped and gave this one my full self.

Tuesday Sunset

Day 36:  I do my best to take a walk in the middle of every work day.  It gives me clarity and a break from what are often intense days.  On this day, I decided to go to a book signing not too far from the office.  I mean, it was Rob Lowe.  Every girl I knew was in love with him when I was a teenager.  I thought he was yummy.

“Thank you so much for braving this line today,” he said to me as he put pen to the page, signing his autograph.

“Oh, it’s my pleasure.  I mean, I had your poster on my wall.”   He looked up.  Full eye contact.

Momentarily mortified, I couldn’t believe I blurted that out.  Then he smiled and had a humbled expression like he was genuinely happy to hear that, not at all like someone who has heard this over and over again in the last 25 years.

“And I can’t wait to read your book,” I said, trying to clean it up.

Full, intense eye contact again, accompanied by a smile.  Then we said goodbye—and by the way, he still is very pretty!—and I was on my way.

Rob Lowe

Self care is embracing the past and finding that it can be even sweeter than you remembered.

Day 37: There is an outdoor exhibit on a stretch of Park Avenue in midtown, called the Park Avenue Paper Chase, featuring sculptures by the artist Alice Aycock. Made of aluminum and fiberglass, you cannot help but take notice, even if you are hurriedly walking by.  I took my time with each one, wanting to experience them.  I was fascinated by one in particular, all ruffles and lightness, even though it probably weighs a couple of tons.

Up close, it reminded me of a Georgia O’Keeffe painting.

Park Avenue Sculpture

Day 38:The Big Egg Hunt has taken New York by storm these past few weeks. Sponsored by Faberge, up to 300 eggs are hidden around the city.  Many are designed by famous artists.  They’ll be auctioned off at the end of the Easter season, with all proceeds benefitting a couple of charities.

My friend Judy let me know that there was one near the Brooklyn Bridge that she thought I’d want to see.  We ventured out one evening—because a pilgrimage of love is definitely self care—and I discovered that she was right.

Love Me Brooklyn

“You are like the heat-seeking missile when it comes to seeing love,” Judy said to me as we walked down the street after seeing the egg.  It was as if a parade of love accompanied us on our way to dinner.

One love-inspired wall of graffiti was so faint that my camera could barely pick it up. But still it revealed itself to me.

Signs of love are everywhere.

Day 39:  One of my favorite things to do is wander through Central Park, especially on a beautiful spring day.  I don’t have time to do it as much as I would like, so it feels like an indulgence when I do.  Now, the grassy side areas are all carpeted with flowers, and the trees are all just about to burst into an abundance of blooms.

No matter how many times I’m in the park, I always have to make my pilgrimage to Bethesda Fountain, topped by this angel of beauty.

Bethesda Fountain

She always gives me a sense of peace, and I leave knowing I can happily make my way through the rest of the day.

Day 40:  And then, magically, the week ended as it began, on a side street in Soho. I has taken myself out for a meal, then decided I needed to walk some of the food off.  Walking briskly, on the edge of my vision I spotted a small spot of white paint on the ground.  Stopping, I saw on closer inspection that some words were spelled out in its midst.

Magic - Brick

There it was again.  Magic was pursuing me, and I felt giddy at the unexpectedness of it.

Believe in magic and love and grace.  It’s just waiting to catch you by surprise.  Self care often lies in paying attention.

xo, with goodness and grace.

Today I’m grateful for the beams of light that were bookends for my day.

I’ve struggled on and off with insomnia over the last year, which at times has brought me to the brink of madness.  (Or the need to be very dramatic, at least.) For a time this summer, I held it at bay, finally sleeping through the night.  But, some mornings these last few weeks have have found me awake at the too-early hour of 4am.

This was one of those mornings.

I tossed and turned in that state where you know you are awake but are afraid to open your eyes for fear that you will never, ever sleep again.  (Did I mention that my lack of sleep has made me very, very dramatic?) That state where every worry you have resides in the pit of your stomach, seizing the moment so now you must pay attention.

And then.

At the time I needed to get up for work, I reluctantly allowed myself to be awake. And I was greeted with a heavenly light.

Sometimes when the sun rises in my neighborhood, I can see its glow on the trees outside my window or the way the sunlight falls on the building across the street. This morning, the light was oddly concentrated in one pane of my window – an intense peach-hued globe of radiance that literally mesmerized me.

It felt like a showering of a morning blessing, so transforming that I forgot about how tired I was.

My work day was filled with the usual chaos.  The lunch eaten too quickly in order to get to the next meeting.  The co-workers that you see in passing but don’t actually engage in conversation.  The moment where you step outside to get air, but can’t remember whether the air was warm and humid or cool and breezy.

And then it ends, and the act of leaving the office offers a chance for soul restoration.

It was then that it caught my eye and stopped me – a sunset full of grace.  The giant, perfectly round orb of luminonsity, its color otherwordly, made me feel fortunate to be in that spot, in that moment, in this particular city, to have the privilege of witnessing such beauty.

It’s in those moments that I believe in the magic of the world.

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