Adopted Alabamians

Whenever Sean of the South writes one of his love letters to Alabama, it always gets our attention. And this one — about road-tripping through the state in a pandemic — certainly hit home.

The thing I miss most, however, is road trips. Like the one I’m on now. I almost forgot how to travel. I almost forgot the thrill of looking out the window at the beauty lying between my Floridian Panhandle home and the sunkissed pastures of Alabama.
I almost forgot what it feels like to roll down my window on a clear day, travelling fifty-five. I nearly forgot how freeing it is to be on an old highway among the peanut fields and cotton.
Workaholic Me is gone. And I hope he stays gone. And for the next few days, I am once again an adopted son of a truly great state.
I heart Alabama.
-Sean Dietrich

Like Dietrich, we are also “adopted Alabamians” and we ♥ our family here. It’s been awhile since we took an Alabama road trip…just because (a friend once called that “going loafering”). Thinking we need to hit those back roads again soon!

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Your Happy Place

A handy little guide to being (and staying) happy. So many good tips in here – we read it twice…and then bookmarked!

A Happiness Guide (NYT).

Spend time in nature.

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Busy-ness…

A Philosophy of Nothingness.

We get it. Everybody’s busy. And making that claim sometimes just helps us feel justified that we’re contributing and doing important things.

But today, Olga Mecking, writer for The New York Times’ “Smarter Living” column, encourages us all to do more of, well, less. And to help make her case, she draws lessons from Niksen. a practice started in the Netherlands to help manage stress. It literally means to do nothing. Or as some might like to think, to do something but with no purpose at all.

“…daydreaming — an inevitable effect of idleness — ‘literally makes us more creative, better at problem-solving, better at coming up with creative ideas.’ For that to happen, though, total idleness is required. – Sandi Mann, Psychologist

So stop whatever you’re doing, put down your phone, get up, stretch, smile, take a walk. Stare at the sky. Mindlessly cuddle your dog or cat. Whatever “nothing” you choose to do…permission granted! 🙂

Photo by Andrew Neel

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Healing Places

This spring we’ve had two friends visit from big cities…each very much in need of a respite from the pressures of their careers. Upon arrival, what they seemed to crave the most was just quiet time, down time, free of the need to “do” anything or “go” anywhere — which made me slow down, too. And it was nice. As one friend drove out the gravel driveway to head home, I couldn’t help but think this little farm has become for some a healing place. Not only for us, but for others who visit, who need to recalibrate or  forget about painful things for awhile. When our mom passed away several years ago, I remember throwing myself into work even more to avoid too much reflection, and too much grief. But when I finally came here to slow down for a few days, well, my stay ended up lasting two months. It was just the antidote that was needed and time in the country helped me plan a more joyful path forward. Dr. Oliver Sachs touches on the power of nature in his essay, “The Healing Power of Gardens.” And while Dr. Sachs drew from experiences visiting some of the world’s most beautiful botanical gardens, his message is quite clear: Mother Earth can be a great healer.

“The role that nature plays in health and healing becomes even more critical for people working long days in windowless offices, for those living in city neighborhoods without access to green spaces, for children in city schools…. The effects of nature’s qualities on health are not only spiritual and emotional but physical and neurological.” – Dr. Oliver Sachs

Dr. Sachs’ final book of essays — Everything In Its Place — will be published April 23, 2019.

 

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Recline, don’t ‘Lean In’

reclinehammock

Hear this one professional woman’s take on trying to be everything for everyone. And maybe…instead of working so hard to lean in and win approvals, we should learn to kick back and chill out just a little bit more.

“Perhaps the modern equivalent of Woolf’s ‘room of her own’ is the right to stop ‘leaning in’ all the time. There is, after all, much to be said for leaning out — for long lunches, afternoon naps, good books and some nice, slow hours in the La-Z-Boy […or hammock].”

Read this “manifestus for the rest of us” in She The People (Washington Post).

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