I’m writing this post as I make my way home from a faraway place. I’ll be sharing more about the trip next weekend. For now, I’ll say that this experience has made me grateful on two fronts: grateful for the opportunity to leave home and explore a different part of the world, and grateful to be coming back.
It’s the gratitude for home I want to focus on today. Last week, I wrote about my exercise in journaling about things that make me happy. It was so illuminating to realize how small and quotidian these things are. And how lucky I am, really, that happiness can and does reside in things, habits, and relationships that are nearly always within my reach. The next time I find myself believing that I need something I don’t have in order to be happy, I’ll remember it.
My feelings as I travel home today echo much of what last week’s post said, except they’re more heartfelt because I’ve been gone for seven days. I’ve never felt more grateful for my little apartment, the street I live on, the coffee shops in my neighborhood, the food in my fridge and my freezer. I’m grateful for the fact that my mom lives thirteen blocks away and that I have friends all over the country whom I love with all my heart. I’m grateful for my yoga studios, which give me a sacred space and a spiritual community. I’m grateful for everyone who’s reading this post.
It’s been tricky since my internship ended. I’ve had to adjust to more time, more freedom, more choices about what I’m doing and where life is going. The freedom and autonomy sound enviable, and of course they are, but they can be scary, too.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how each one of my anorexia relapses growing up came at a time when a big life transition occurred or was on the horizon: the end of middle school, the end of college, the end of my first real relationship. I don’t have the demon of relapse nipping at my heels anymore, but I do have depression and anxiety, which are related demons. I wish I had an easier time with change and the opportunity for self-reinvention and growth that it brings. But lack of structure, and changes to the structure I’m used to, will probably always be hard for me.
This is, I realize, why daily joys are so important. Life really is uncertain, and everything is always changing. The so-called “little things” are what’s constant and reliable. They can be a powerful way of staying oriented, grounded, and grateful in the face of impermanence.
I take my life and all of its joys and privileges and gifts for granted far too often. I try not to, but I do. Maybe that’s just human nature. I know that I’ll always have moments or even whole periods of time when perspective gets lost, but when that happens, I hope I can find ways to see the big picture again. Being away from home one powerful means of regaining perspective, and I’m so glad to be returning to New York with a fresh way of seeing things. An appreciative way of seeing things.
I appreciate all of you. Here are some recipes and reads.
I love the idea of a winter fruit salsa!
Deryn’s butternut squash bruschetta looks like a perfect holiday season appetizer.
These baked and stuffed apples have two filling options—one with nuts, one without—and they both sound delicious.
This will be a week of elaborate desserts, but right now these peanut butter and chocolate krispie treats are looking just about perfect.
1. I really liked these five lessons about food from RD Theresa Shank, especially number two. I always ask my clients about adverse life experiences, trauma, and stressors; they’re an integral part of the “big picture” I need to understand a person’s way of experiencing food.
2. I’m all for encouraging kids to eat wholesome foods, but I’m never a fan of forcing or pressuring. Holiday tables can be difficult places for kids.
In this New York Times article, a number of experts on childhood feeding argue that it’s OK for children to be focused on things other than food on Thanksgiving—even if that means they don’t clear their plates or eat everything on offer.
3. A new survey shows that the majority of participants’ in one town’s Meatless Monday campaign found it easy or very easy to cut back on meat. I love seeing research that underscores the richness and satisfaction of plant-based diet!
4. The incredible story of one veteran’s journey from a coma to Wheelchair Games.
5. Not an article, but I was really touched by this Instagram post from Elizabeth Gilbert, and I wanted to pass it along. It’s an ode to “the heart-aching beauty of long friendships.” Gilbert writes,
My friends and I don’t belong to each other by blood, by marriage, by law, by ceremony. We owe each other nothing. Yet we DO take care of each other in sickness and in health. Till death do we part, apparently. Because we just love each other. We just DO. We never even had to think about it. It wasn’t a decision. As my friend Martha always says: “The heart knows who it belongs to.” Today I just want to say: My heart belongs to my friends. But only always. I love you.
Reading this beautiful expression of love made me feel especially thankful for all of my friends, old and new, but especially those whom I’ve known enough to be able to say we’ve seen each other through thick and thin.
Happy Sunday, all. I have an easy chocolate-y dessert coming this week, which is low-key enough to make at the last minute for Thanksgiving if you need to!