“Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.”
Where are you? What are the smells, the sounds, the landscape, the energy, and the people like? What emotions rise like a hot air balloon in your chest, slowly filling up with the gust of anticipation, of fun? What is the relationship that you have with this place? I bet it’s a very happy place, indeed.
I get stuck. This happens about once every three months if I don’t give my surroundings a little switcheroo. Call it boredom, call it a shiny thing withdrawal, call it ADHD, call it whatever you will—but it’s true. As a result, I’ve learned it’s super important to intentionally seek out our happy places as often as possible, so we don’t get forgetful and lose perspective of the vast, diverse world we hold citizenship in.
Perhaps you are thinking to yourself, “But I don’t need to go find my happy place, I’m a homebody, and my happy place is on the couch.” Okay, fair enough. We can dance theoretically here if you want. So, the couch is really your happy place; that’s awesome. However, if you’ve gotten comfortably numb while glued to Season 5 of House of Cards (guilty), and forgot what inspired feels like in your bones, it may be time to move around a little bit.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being at home. I love routine and ritual and rest…all those “r” words. The older I get, I consider myself a homebody more and more. I love the control of it all, however, I can easily slip into the rut of complacency and self absorption, thinking the rest of the planet shares a striking resemblance to me. Thankfully, it doesn’t!
(One) of my happy places is New York City. I just got back from a week there to celebrate my birthday and do some much anticipated Brainspotting with the developer, Dr. David Grand. My nerd and city girl were both fully satisfied, and It was glorious. That said, I’ve very grateful.
When I conjure up my happy place, here’s what I envision:
I smell the steamy wafts of street vendors and food trucks hustling their curried meats, freshly baked pretzels, and savory egg and cheese sandwiches. I hear a slew of foreign languages fighting across streets to be heard; some bickering, some joking, and some sharing the latest juicy office gossip. I hear the bleating horns of cabs and the soulful strains of a singer- songwriter covering a Beatles tune in Central Park.
I see stunning, impossibly thin models smoking cigs and downing green juice on their way to a shoot. In the same glance, the finance guys head back to Wall St. in their fitted John Varvatos and shiny watches after lunch. They’re shamelessly checking out the models.
All of it
The dreamy parks of the West Village teem with young dads swinging their kids and lovely older married couples drinking cappuccinos as they read the Times. They’ve seen a thing or two. Cafe owners fling wide their french doors and water the poppy colored pansies in the flower boxes. They thoughtfully write out the nights specials on a chalkboard and do a quick tasting of the night’s featured wines with a tiny, well-versed staff.
It’s the quirky innovation of the Highline, the classic majesty of Central Park, the edgy grit of Tribecca, the polished panache of the Upper West Side, the sweaty stench of the subway, the esteemed fashion houses of Soho, and the sprawling boldness of Brooklyn. All of it makes me intensely happy.
Faces of God
As you may gather, the City lights me up. Sure, there are other cities I adore, however, not many cities lend this visceral gift of inspiration and pulsing energy. It’s constant, messy, creative, gorgeous, exhausting, delicious…it’s life.
One of the many reasons this is my happy place is I see so many beautifully diverse faces of God. By this I mean, I’m reminded that God is pure love and creativity, and thus far bigger and better than we can possibly fit into a box.
My world shrinks up if I don’t intentionally commit to a bit of wandering. Wandering reminds me there’s an insane amount of life out there and it doesn’t look just like me. When I am in my happy place, It’s impossible NOT to see the bigger picture.
If we take a wide-lens camera and zoom out really far, I think the overall footprint is love. It’s far more recognizable than hate, though hate desperately fights to be seen and heard. So, this is my invitation to you: go find the place that reminds you of life’s brilliant color, possibility, and love. You don’t have to get on a plane or spend a bunch of money. However, you may need to wander off the familiar path (or couch). Where is your happy place? Is it the ocean? The mountains? Perhaps your the park down the street. Whatever that place is, I’d love to know all about it…
Love & Gratitude,