Category Archives: Health + Wellness

Finding the little bliss(es): this is it.

Where is happiness? Where do you find it?

The $7 coffee pot we bought the day we moved in together–because we knew that functioning properly as a team might require adequate dosages of caffeine in our morning routines.

Stretching my toes against the curb while waiting for the light to change.

High-fiving the blinking walk sign's red hand, just because I want to jump up and smack something.

The strange satisfaction from deconstructing cardboard boxes and stacking them neatly in the recycling pile—and the way the open-faced scissors run against the tape and snap—split!—open the box.

Running my hands under hot water with basil-lemon fragrance, and then doing it again just because I enjoy the feeling and the scent. Cooking food in a pot and stirring it, without doing anything else. No phone, no thoughts, just delighting in the tomatoes. Watching the skin of the tomatoes shrink, shrivel and curl under the heat, and the center seeds ooze out into a sauce.

Sunlight streaming in through a window and running over like a cat (what? run? I mean strolling deliberately without a care in the world) towards the sunny spot, closing my eyes for a few moments. Yes, a catnap...

The sun shifts. Back to work.

Squeaky chairs and creaky old apartment doors and fixing the whines with magical cans of WD-40 (that stuff is amazing).

This is it, isn't it? These are the little blisses.

These are the moments that are worth it. These are the parts and pieces. Happiness isn't a victory, a destination, or an achievement.  It's not something I've won or owned; I'm not sure it's something I can ever capture. But when I start to look around for it, it shows up in the smallest ways, in the minutiae of moments, in the collection of pieces I often forget.

Life isn't felt in summation or as some frozen awkward final pose. It isn't a grade, it isn't a race, and it isn't something you can buy. Life is a series of moments, and is experienced as that—a series of simple moments. Change is hard not because ideas are hard to have, but because mastering the little moments is tremendously challenging. It's inside of the little moments that lies all of our life.

Life is a series of simple moments, one after the other.  Life is about finding the bliss in the moment right now.

Things like...

Licking envelopes closed and sealing them, addressing piles of cards and notes to send to faraway friends across the world. Writing positive postcards and telling your friends that you love them.

Calling people randomly because scheduling all of your phone calls becomes slightly neurotic. Catching up ... just because.

Tape, and all of its goodness. Tape tape tape. The sound of tape as you say it. TAPE.

A do-it-yourself at-home sauna treatment after you've had a cold for a few days: sinking your head into a bucket of steam and eucalyptus oil and praying to the sinus gods to let you get better quickly.

A classroom full of some of the most intelligent, talented students you've ever met who all let you take a short break and even send you get-well messages when, like this week, you run headfirst into a cold and don't know how to slow down.

Flying across the country to see my Grandpa and have him meet my man. Watching the two of them talk, and hearing stories of growing up hungry and skinny during the Depression. Him saving 10 cents and skipping lunch so he could spend that money on new chemicals for his chemistry set. Watching this smarty-pants have his eyes get wider as he looks at my mom and mock-whispers to her, "These here are some smart ones, aren't they?" about the work that we're doing in the world.

People who write back to my newsletters and posts, taking the time to share a part of their world (and their wonders and struggles) with me.

A seat opening up on the subway so you can sit down and sink into your book.

Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury, and his reminder to feel the aliveness of being alive. ALIVE.

The kindness of strangers. Old people who still joke about love and sex. The beauty of medium-sized. New friends on Twitter. Honest conversations. Handwritten words on the internet. Hitting publish. Audacity and courage.

A small glass of wine on a Friday night, resting up. A glassy of bubbly lemon water with fresh ginger.

The little blisses.

What are your little blisses? What are the moments that make you pause, lift the corners of your mouth a bit, or crack up in a smile?

What have you done to take care of you?

The line between happy and crazy is very thin. The distance between joy and depression is fragile. A short story. “What are you doing tonight?” He asked. “I think I’m going to write, do some yoga, drink some lemon tea, and try to head to bed early–I’m a bit tired.” It had been a long day. OrContinue Reading

The Bali journey: in photographs.

I’m a little bit at a loss for words. I’m back from Bali, landing back in the USA after a flight pulled me 13 hours backwards in time, depositing me into the winter hemisphere. While I was gone, our city decorated the streets of Brooklyn with holiday lights, and folks have pulled out their hatsContinue Reading

The power of breath: why breathing happens before anything else.

It’s not always easy to breathe. Breathing—the intake of oxygen and the exhalation of carbon dioxide—is life’s essential force. It’s the first step our physical bodies take towards making all other actions possible, including thinking. In swimming, the rhythm of breathing is essential: you only have a few opportunities to catch a breath; it’s aboutContinue Reading

What would you bring with you into the woods? Reflection questions on your own fire, the art of creation, the necessity of destruction, and your intrinsic value.

Central Park by Vivienne Gucwa on NY Through The Lens. Reflection, rejuvenation, and three questions. This weekend, I left the city to join one hundred other entrepreneurs, creatives, and innovators to shake off some digital dust and retreat in the Poconos Mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania. In addition to the typical packing instructions — sleeping bag,Continue Reading

When is the right time to make change? The changing of seasons is the perfect time to re-fresh and re-invest.

When is the best time to make change? The shifting seasons are a perfect time to reflect on your year, create new intentions, and let go of past problems. It’s time to start clean, and embrace the next phase of growth.Continue Reading

Do you observe your thoughts, or judge them?

A few weeks ago, I was teaching some of Spring’s early-season open water courses down at Aquatic Park near Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco. A group of new swimmers stood, shivering, outside of the water while the coaches and I explained the process of getting acclimated to cold water temperatures and critical things to knowContinue Reading

Words for walking: what kind are you?

What’s one thing that almost every one of us have in common? The ability to walk, wander, and be bipedal; we are a species that has, historically, spent most of our time on our feet. In my Walk + Talk adventures in San Francisco this past year, I’ve been reading literature on the importance ofContinue ReadingContinue Reading

William James on consciousness and movement

William James, from the University of Amsterdam In the 1961 text titled Psychology: The Briefer Course, William James, (an eminent theorist and one of the founders of modern psychology), writes a series of essays on habits, consciousness, the self, attention, association, memory, sense of time, and several more topics. The book, a compilation of James’Continue Reading

Just One

What would just one of something look like? Not a diversity of items, but a simplicity of things. A specificity, a selection, and a deliberate choice between several? Not three workout programs, but just one workout program. Not seven yoga mats or towels, but just one. Not eight new dresses or blouses, but just one. YourContinue Reading