General troublemaking, My favorite things

Feeling Whole

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans
When that’s where you left your heart?

Is there a place in the world that makes you feel whole? A place that when you are there things just feel right, you smile, and you just know that on some level that’s where you are meant to be?

I spent last week in New Orleans, a city that will always have a piece of my heart. After living there for my college years, including living through Hurricane Katrina (though quite fortunately in a very safe way), I can say with confidence that is truly one of the few places in the world I feel at home. Jazz permeates society, the food is superb, the people are friendly, and every day life is appreciated, which is quite different from New York City living. I feel light when I am in New Orleans. Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time in NOLA knows there’s a lagniappe (Louisiana French creole for “something special”) that exists in there, a lagniappe which lives in you long past the time you spend in the city.
For me, it’s important to incorporate the lagniappe of New Orleans, the feeling of lightness and friendliness, and the overall jazz into my every day life, even back in bustling New York. That’s the way I’d love to live.  So I am working on channeling New Orleans into my New York life (which, for now, includes a lot of NOLA artwork in my apartment!).
 What places, activities, jobs, or projects make you feel whole? How can we focus on things that fill us up versus things that wear us down? That’s where the magic happens. Those are the spaces in which we can start taking on the world.
General troublemaking

Walking on the Other Side of the Street

Recently while walking home, I ended up walking on the other side of the street (like, the west side of Bleecker versus the east side) from where I normally walk because of traffic lights. I find there are certain habits I form when walking that I end up avoiding certain blocks.

Well, let me tell you, there were all these stores on the other side of the street I had literally never noticed. I was shocked that around the corner from my apartment (literally, two blocks away), we’re a strip of stores I didn’t even know existed. It hit me even harder when I found out one of the shops was closing because it couldn’t compete with the larger, fancier stores down the street (which, by the way, I have noticed). Maybe I wasn’t the only person that focused on the things I was familiar with.

I realized in that moment that it is important, both literally and figuratively, to walk on the other side of the street. We get so caught up in the grind of our every day lives– the route we take to work, where we get lunch, how we approach the work we take on, the brunch places we go with friends, where we shop, etc.– that we are unable to gain a larger perspective, or view things in a different way.

Have I mentioned I work with a (truly amazing) life coach? Last summer he encouraged me to try something new every day for two weeks. I did that, and it really reinvigorated me to take an alternative commute or try a different drink at Starbucks. Innovative, creative ideas do not come out of repetition or monotony. Neither does troublemaking. It’s imperative to walk on the other side of the street, to view things from a different angle, to start to challenge yourself and the status quo.

What will you do this week to change things up?