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An Old Sweater, A Ripe Peach, and How to Feel Better

July 8, 2015

Let’s say you just bought a sweater that you really love. The color and shape are flattering, it’s soft, the associate at the store put it in a nice bag with some tissue paper. When you wear it for the first time you feel fresh and new; you’re mindful of not spilling on it and when you take it off you’re careful to not stretch or rip anything. The sweater has some life to it- it brings some life to you! Well, some months pass and you find yourself not as apt to following the special wash instructions – it’s too much work! When you first got it you would hang it up immediately but now it gets balled up or left in the laundry basket for long periods of time just like everything else. Something snags it, the snag leads to a hole… Before long the sweater has lost its magic.

Sometimes I treat myself like an old sweater, and similarly I lose my magic. A few mornings ago, feeling just that, I was about to cut up a peach for breakfast. I carefully lifted the one I wanted out of the paper bag and marveled at it. This little piece of fruit that I had been anxiously awaiting to ripen was beautiful. The skin was soft, the flesh of the fruit giving slightly to where my fingers pushed in; the weight a little heavy in my hand. The aroma was sweet and full, the color a rich blend of oranges and reds. I put it on my favorite wood cutting board, grabbed my chef’s knife, and slowly began to cut into the fruit. When I was finished eating it (by the window, on a small, white plate) I could confirm it was the best peach I had ever had. The next day, excited to eat another, I quickly took one from the bag, sliced it up and ate it (while standing, as soon as a slice was free). It wasn’t the same experience.

When I take the time to admire the present moment, or to cherish the things I have, my life feels rich, and warm, and lovely; it makes me feel fresh and new. When I rush, when I’m careless, when I’m distracted, the moment is unmemorable. Dull. My life is an old sweater that isn’t as good as it used to be. And probably covered in lint.

So if you’re feeling dull, or empty, or like you’ve lost some magic, I recommend taking some time to treat yourself like a new sweater, or a ripe peach. Instead of rushing through your 6 minute shower, turn on some Norah Jones, light a candle (that’s right, actually light a candle you own, you’re worth it) and really cleanse yourself. Touch your skin as if it’s as fragile as a peach. Don’t just slather shampoo all over your head and rinse; massage your scalp. Close your eyes and inhale the smell of your soap, feel your muscles loosen in the steam. This advice isn’t frivolous fluff for those who like to indulge, it’s an urgent request to go take care of yourself. Stop being a worn-out sweater and go explore and be in a moment that could just as easily slip away, unnoticed.

Believe me, it’ll make you feel alive again.

signoff See you next Wednesday
 (P.S. I welcome (nice, kind, sweet, gentle, funny) punctuation advice)

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