The gardener is an artist, a creator, and an architect... the serenity in the garden sings to their soul.
Early on a summer morning, before the heat held the city captive in its stagnant breath, I sat on a bench in Madison Square Park looking at Ghost Forest, an installation by artist Maya Lin. This barren grove of Great Atlantic white cedar trees stood like weathered sentinels in the verdant park.
Learning to love New Jersey roughly translated into learning how to love myself.
As a photographic practice, fragmentation has always fascinated me. Images of dark corners in brightly lit rooms; photos of isolated limbs curving toward another subject; highlighted facial expressions and gestures in a crowded, chaotic space.
I am listening to Eckhart Tolle on a stale bus filled with 50 Greenwich moms, seated next to a boyfriend I love but do not like, on a dark gray January morning headed to the Women’s March on Washington. It is 2016.
How does one heal from the death of a child? My son, Wells, died of a heroin overdose last year, the weight of grief shaped me into a woman I did not know – angry, bitter, hating the world and God.
When I was 21, I visited the British Museum in London. I toured the winding exhibits that showcased artifacts from around the world with my college roommate in tow.
The school to prison pipeline is not just a theory. It is not something that social scientists conjured up. It is real life.
My grandmother loved flowers. Originally from a farm in South Korea, she knew how to tend to things, how to get them to grow and thrive.
On Sunday, March 21, 2021, my mother began a self-imposed, nine-month period of silence and isolation at her apartment in central New Jersey. Had it not been for Covid-19, this experience would have taken place in an ashram in Rishikesh in Uttarakhand, India, in the foothills of the Himalayas.
About 20 hours after my second COVID-19 vaccination, I awoke from a nap with a foot cramp that took my breath away. I hobbled to the bathroom for more Ibuprofen, then sat down at my desk and reached for the last pen in the box.
I watched from my window as my father-in-law pulled up in front of our house with the trailer hitched to the back of his truck. He got out and lowered the metal ramps at the back of the trailer down to the ground and undid the straps that had held the wrecked car in place on the trailer from Ohio home to Connecticut.
At first, I attributed the feeling of unsteadiness that I felt in college to being far from home; I envied my friends who drove home on weekends to do their laundry. But by the end of my sophomore year, I knew that something was wrong.
May 25, 2020 changed America’s trajectory. On that day, Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd. This murder sparked protests in cities across America.
Through dreams, it is possible to fly very high; to tell secrets without fear; to meet someone who we don’t see anymore; to perceive that impossible things come true when we fall asleep.
The morning light beckons. To the east, the sun rolls over the ridge, a yellow beacon piercing the gaps in the tall evergreens, blinding and bright.
Sudden grief overwhelmed me to a point where I couldn’t function in my second year of college. I had never viscerally experienced an emotion so deeply it made me sick.
Near the end of our work together, I mentioned to my therapist that I’d been feeling “weirdly okay” lately – for the first time since the betrayal that ended my engagement and propelled me into therapy, I was sleeping better, spiraling less, and even thinking of my ex in a more detached way, when I thought of him at all.
You are not the same shape that you used to be. Your body has grown solid. It’s filled out the peaks and valleys of your ribs and hips, and there’s a slight glow in your cheeks.
I am a former refugee, and I held a factory-floor job in Canada in 2018 on arrival. I woke up at 5:00 am for a supposedly eight-hour job that extended into 12 hours when you counted the time it took me to climb endless stairs and the necessary three-hour Metro train ride to get there.
What happens when you’re past the point of talking about it? What happens when I’m abundantly aware of my mental health to the extent that I’d much rather just step away and ignore that nagging itch in my head?
A tall Victorian at the end of the line for the J-Church streetcar was home to The Integral Counseling Center. I caught the streetcar a block from my apartment on that most rare of things in San Francisco, flat ground, and rode the car as it lurched around the curves up a very steep grade.
My friends know me as ‘Jen’, but marketing agencies know me as ‘a mid-20s American woman.’ I am the target demographic for those shilling self-care products, and I am bombarded with ads for them constantly.
There is no magic deeper than re-telling a story, for you are giving yourself agency to assign meaning and (most importantly) to assign usefulness to time and events. When fairytale writer Hans Christian Andersen wrote, “Our lives are fairytales written by God’s fingers,” it was not just a cute ditty— it was a magic healing spell.
“You healed yourself through writing.” a friend said to me, her eyes locked to mine through the Zoom screen, as I finished telling her my story of how I became a writer.
I stand alone by the lakeside, music spilling out of my headphones into my ears and out across the water, the notes rolling through the air like wisps of smoke dancing from the tip of a newly extinguished matchstick.
A few years ago, I travelled to Sydney, Australia where I particularly enjoyed going on scenic Australian bush walks.
Late one night in 2011 I attended a reading by W. S. Merwin...I was a senior in high school and, though I had only known he existed for one week, already zealous about his genius.
Every time I read Dante, I think of my friend Rishi, since it was the last thing we spoke about before he took his own life.
Pregnancy should not have taken me by surprise. As the daughter of a nurse, and the granddaughter of three doctors – one of whom set up a reproductive health clinic in the 1960s – I was well versed on everything from anatomy to childbirth.
To say that the pandemic slowed life is uncontroversial. Across the world, many people ceased travelling, commuting, and disposing of their leisure time freely.
Who do you want to be? And what does “being in community” entail for you?
The Covid-19 pandemic has made it clear just how much we depend on one another. We count on those around us to take the public health precautions that will curb the spread of the virus; on essential workers to care for our health, to provide us with food, to keep public spaces clean.
The familiar bell pierces the dewy March air and everyone rushes into the gymnasium, sneakers and sweatbands at the ready. I pull my thick hair up into a ponytail, wincing as I touch the burn on my left ear, another casualty from my daily standing appointment with my straightener.
When I run into Ron, we speak from a distance, both masked, over six feet apart. Today, the greater the distance from new people, the safer I feel.
I’m a Taiwanese American Episcopal priest who is on her third career and living in her eighth state. Trying to describe “my community” can get complex and messy.
Hold my hand, dear reader, and accompany me to the realm of childhood— that place that is both real and imagined.
Because I had not attended regular church services during my childhood, I had previously viewed communal worship as nonessential to living the Christian life. I envisioned it as helpful to some, but not a requirement of Christianity, a personal relationship with God, however, was.
I was a tanned and bright-eyed college freshman at an evangelical university in Southern California when I first heard the phrase “building community.”
After moving out of my parents’ house, I stopped going to Mass every week. But whenever I found myself struggling, I’d always find my way back to the Catholic Church.
“What do you think people see you as when you walk on the street?” my mom asked me rhetorically on the phone a few weeks ago. “They see a Chinese person. And people here can be so discriminating,”.
On my morning walk to St. Giles Cathedral I spotted a performer who posed daily as a magically levitating “Yoda”. You know, from Star Wars.
When I was younger, the concept of “faith” didn’t make much sense to me. I grew up in Australia, where religion is not part of public life or much spoken about. My parents were raised Anglican, but when the topic of religion came up they would say things like “I wouldn’t get involved in that..."
Have you found yourself working remotely since last March? Maybe you are happily working from home and don’t miss being in an office. Or maybe your current “office-mates” involve young children and/or pets who don’t always follow the boundaries of work-life and home-life.
When I was a child, I would frequently sit on the edge of my bed, looking through my small window, out at the moon. At the time, my goal was to become an astronaut.
Standing in line at the Rock Café, I am jolted by the realization that I can no longer see like I used to. In classes, I begin to test myself by sitting in row 6, 7, 8, watching for when the professor’s facial expressions become harder to read.
With so many Advent Devotionals available today, how can you decide which one is right for you?
For many Christians, myself included, the Covid-19 pandemic has substantially interrupted the practice of our faith. Because of coronavirus restrictions, I have not been able to attend Mass in person since March. Though I appreciate the considerable efforts of parishes to offer virtual liturgies, tuning into Mass from my kitchen table while I eat a bowl of cereal just isn’t the same.
I find the term purity culture somewhat ironic. The persistent focus on sexual restraint limits the depth of our understanding of what purity is.
I was five years old when I first became a Christian. I say first because I would go on to try praying the same prayer countless more times, never sure if I’d done it right.
I have been visualizing what it might be like to collect water from a stream by trying to grasp it. My fists are clenched and my grip is tight as the cold sensation slips through my fingers over and over again.
When I was seventeen, I wrote a one-man play called “Gates and Chains,” dramatizing the Christian journey of faith. The protagonist, a version of myself, ultimately fails to progress in her spiritual journey because she refuses to release the delicate chain on her wrist. The chain of “familiarity” is comfortable, so she keeps it.
Complementary colors are in fact direct opposites: red to green, orange to blue. Along the same line of logic, every emotion heightens its opposite. True presence begets the most soul-aching absence and vice versa. There is nothing like a pandemic to hit this lesson home.