When I started publishing these posts, NYC was taking tentative steps out of COVID lockdown by allowing restaurants to serve take-out. Streets were still somewhat deserted, and this was a major step forward.
Seeing all the vibrant signs of life and renewal around me now, it’s helpful to remember how far we have come. And so, I pause to reflect.
Gathering My Thoughts
I started gathering my thoughts by reviewing the past two years of photos on my phone, which serve as a visual reminder of what was and is important to me.
Scrolling through, the great majority are tied to nature in some way. These range from a small orchid that bloomed in my apartment each year of the pandemic, to fields of spring bulbs, my favorite magnolia trees at Gandhi’s Union Square garden, and the magnificent Hudson River.
Each photo brings a smile – my heart opens and fills with joy.
Spring and autumn photos are in abundance. It was living in Connecticut that I first experienced the beauty and harmony of four distinct seasons. The intensity of the experience was something very new to me.
Musically, I often compare spring in my old home state of Arizona as hearing “Chopsticks” played on the piano. It was over in a few notes and then came the excruciating heat of summer at the final chord. The spring I experienced in Connecticut and now NYC is a full symphony – and I am emotionally tied to that bountiful renewal each year.
Reviewing my posts was next – over 70 of them. I first noticed how much longer they have recently grown. I also noticed how much of my personal philosophy of life has now found its way into my writing. I don’t know if that is good or bad – it just is.
Throughout this time, and especially of late, joy has been front and center in my writing.
Reflecting on Joy
Experiencing joy and sharing it with others is one of my favorite things in life.
Recently, multiple articles have been published that validate the beauty and benefits of experiencing joy – including one that advocates adding small bites of joy into our lives on a regular basis. There are friends with whom I now share “today’s bite of joy” – whatever that might be.
Gifting ourselves and others with joy is, well, joyous! I am now reminded of just how much joy the beauty of nature brings me – from the glory of spring and autumn, to the sound of birds singing, to the majesty of the Hudson River just a short walk away.
“Find out where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing. For to miss the joy is to miss all.” — Robert Louis Stevenson
Reflecting on Conversation
I write to entice or even inspire people to try expanding and elevating conversation – at work, at home, and at play. I continue to encourage people to try it out on strangers – something that has been documented as having positive impact in our lives.
Throughout these two years, I have expanded the definition of conversation from people talking with each other to something far broader that touches our lives in a myriad of ways.
There are conversations with oneself, like this reflection, and conversations with a city, which NYC supplies in abundance. There are conversations with dogs, with nature, with the Universe, and more.
All have been intentionally honoring of each person involved, and result in the elevation of the human spirit – my definition of a delicious conversation.
I continue to believe that conversation is at the core of all I do – in my work and beyond. This is how I reach an understanding of my life and the world around me.
As year three begins, we are experiencing an early spring. Snowdrops, crocuses, and daffodils have been blooming for over a month. I systematically searched for them weeks before they appeared, wanting to catch their first hello, needing to feel the cycle of renewal start again.
I continue to search, now wanting to see what new bulbs are in bloom – hyacinths, tulips, and irises will add their color over the next weeks. My favorite magnolia trees will soon be at peak bloom with the statue of Gandhi standing under their pink shade.
Each day, I walk through my city in joyful anticipation of the breathtaking beauty to come.
My conversation with spring is a yearly celebration of rebirth and renewal that feeds my soul. When spring passes into summer and beyond, I will continue to seek joy in all that lies around me – and share it.
iPhone Screenshot by the Author