As we close out the crazy year that was 2020, I think this is a great attitude towards processing the chaos of our lives and moving forward:
After this challenging year, Marina Abramović, perhaps the world’s most famous performance artist, recommends everyone vent their frustrations to a favorite tree in a public park. She tells you to hug one tightly for no less than 15 minutes and pour out your woes to it. Your angst will be “absorbed in the bark,” and you will feel “rejuvenated.” This is tree-hugging on a whole other level.
Abramović believes there is a degree of energy flow between us and our arboreal friends. “Complaining to the tree is also a way of getting energy out of the tree—to you. And healing you.”
I have had many walks this year where I’ve had to just stop and ponder life, whether it was next to a beach, a tree, or a stop sign.
A lot of people in my life seem to need a friend to reach out to them this week.
To send a virtual hug, to give a pep talk, to say "yeah, that guy IS a jerk!"
To just be reminded they’re not alone.
I’ve never been good about reaching out, but this week I’m trying harder. Not just because it’s Mental Health Day on October 10 (which it is) but just because we all need to be reminded that there’s someone out there thinking of us, especially now.
Who can you send a text to today to let them know you’re thinking of them? Even just a book or TV show that made you think of them? Or use it as an excuse to share a funny GIF you saw. 🥰
Me! I do!
So I made one.
It was a fun project and I certainly could have done more, but it’s a good first start.
The kids helped picked out the spot.
They were worried it might be too high up, but I pointed out fairies can fly, so it’s probably fine.
And we’ll keep working on it, maybe put a deck up for the fairies to land on.
This was inspired both by my daughter’s love of building fairy houses right now, and by my discovery of the Tiny Doors of Atlanta.
I love miniatures in general, and would love to go check those out someday! And make some of my own.
Sometimes enriching moments are the quietest ones; the times we find ourselves alone, quiet, with nothing to do or think about other than what is immediately in front of you. A meditation on what is happening now.
I got to experience that tonight. I have been working from home this week and so my normal routines have been disturbed, meaning I have not been taking my normal short walks in the morning and afternoon. The first time I really got to go walk tonight was after the kids were asleep, just after 8pm. It seemed late but I needed to get out, so I strapped on my sneakers and jacket and headed out the door.
I walked briskly to stay warm, although the air was not as cold as I had expected. The street lights were enough that I did not need a flashlight, but still dark enough that I felt the blanket of dark surround me.
There is something much more meditative about going for a walk late at night rather than staying inside and exercising to a TV or on a treadmill. I breathed in the air deeply, smelling the wood fire smoke coming from a fireplace. I could feel the quiet of the night envelop me, I could hear only my own breath, and feel the solitude of the night.
It reminded me a little bit of staying out late in high school and community college. We lived near a beach town, and on summer nights we’d stay out on the beach until well after it officially closed, basking in the dark and fog and solitude and freedom.
I ended up not being the only one out this evening, but with a nod and a smile, all half dozen of us seemed to silently acknowledge that we were each aware of the comfortable quiet companionship of the night.
Sometimes the quietest activities are the most enriching. I need to try and find other opportunities for it.
What has worked for you? What are your quiet enrichment moments? A cup of coffee? Driving home in the car? Knitting? I’d love to get some more ideas. Leave it in the comments below.
Carl Sagan (1934-1996), astronomer and book lover:
“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you.
Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”
~excerpt from the 11th episode of Carl Sagan’s 1980s Cosmos series, titled “The Persistence of Memory”
Authors: Tim Gill, Adrian Voce, Darell Hammond and Mariana Brussoni
Cities around the world are failing children. 30 years after the launch of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – which aimed to make children’s needs and views central in policy making – most cities are hostile if not life-threatening places for their youngest inhabitants.
The global death toll of children on the roads is surely the most shocking illustration of the failure of urban planning. Road traffic is the leading global cause of death among people aged 15–29, and the second highest single cause of death for children aged 5–14.
A mail carrier in Lomita, CA will knock on the door of my 95 year old grandmother every day there is a mail delivery, just out of the kindness of his heart. With this new service in France, postal carriers will also notify the elders’ families of any updates. It is so good to see this natural kind of fit become more structured and organized, and doing more to keep elders connected to their community and family members.
From The New Yorker:
In a sense, Watch Over My Parents was created by accident. The service began in 2013, after a heat wave, when a number of overburdened city halls asked their local post offices to check on vulnerable and elderly residents. Éric Baudrillard, the director of V.S.M.P., told me that there has always been a “natural link between the French and their postal workers.” At first, La Poste was happy to do the check-ins for free. Soon afterward, though, it proposed a paid version of the program, called Cohésio, for insurance companies and municipal governments. The service was extended to the general public in 2017, under the name V.S.M.P.
In France, as in many developed countries, people are living longer than ever before. By 2035, a third of the population will be over sixty. Millions of people over the age of seventy-five already live alone. As the population ages and disperses, with more young people moving away from their birthplaces, traditional safety nets—family, community, the government—may not be enough to support the elderly. V.S.M.P. is a response to this grim prognosis; La Poste sees opportunity in “la silver économie.”
Hello old friends!
It has been awhile since I’ve written. I’ve missed you all.
I’ve taken on some new projects in my life the last few months that are truly all-consuming. Fun (mostly) but also requiring a lot of time, and frankly the same brain power I normally use for this blog.
I also am considering tweaking the blog a bit – not a lot, just making it more focused. But I’d love to hear your thoughts, what do YOU want to learn more about? What is exciting for you to read and ponder?
I’ve also gone on so many fun, enriching experiences that I want to share here (so much for focusing. 😉 )
For now, I just wanted to share a few photos of my adventures, both big and small.
I suppose I could just check in with more short notes like this – I always strive to create something great, but sometimes just showing up is great enough.
I’ll keep checking in.