listening to: johnnyswim

Monday, April 28, 2014

Johnnyswim: Home

folky. energetic. perfect.

and a happy easter to you!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

to me, the coming of easter means the arrival of spring. it is a time to celebrate the warmth of the sun, a time to take off your shoes and walk barefoot. so I did, all around the city, hand-and-hand with an almost-three-year-old and a bouquet of market flowers. and it was a lovely easter indeed.

"wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings." -eyes of the world, the grateful dead 

using the future

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

let's touch upon the past.

time spent on the couch, a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream balanced between book pages. in this instance, she is in a John Green phase, ripping through Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska.

and she is devouring Looking for Alaska, because in more ways than one, she wants to be Alaska. but she is not that girl, because Alaska does what she wants without worrying. and this Olivia, she is worried. she is so worried about her grades and her best friends and her hair (why was that always a constant worry). and she is so worried about the future.

I have always been worried about the future. 

I cannot think of a time in my life where I was not planning a future out in my head, clipping magazine pictures to create a journal of my dreams, googling college classes before I was out of junior high school. I've always been a planner, planning for the future, planning to be on the correct path.

this future planning was always an excited worry. a "wait until I can get a cottage on the edge of the sea" worry, or a "wait until I can have a rose garden in England" worry.

and the point is, I was always waiting. I was planning and waiting on the future, not acknowledging the present.

this is often what I do. I get through my homework and complete my reading and go to bed on time and wake up early and get ready for the day and repeat. I do all of this quickly, completing the path I planned to be on, just waiting for the future.

just waiting.

so fourteen year-old olivia is sitting on the couch, eating baby spoonfuls of ice cream, and she reads John Green's words:

"You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you'll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.”

and she gets it.

"You just use the future to escape the present."

and she realizes she does this. but she doesn't understand the wrongness.

she doesn't understand that obsessive idealization of the future will someday lead her to a discontent of the present.

imagining is fun. I imagine I'll live in the english countryside, with a full garden to tend, with a fireplace in my living room. I imagine I'll spend my days hiking the tallest mountains, climbing the steepest trees, dipping my toes in the freshest river water. I imagine I'll walk through the streets of a city, feeling a loneliness because I am alone, yet feeling a community of busyness. I imagine I'll have a comfortable bed with a hand stitched quilt and flat, down pillows. I image all of this, at different times, at different moments.

but I can't use the future to get out of the present.

the future is not something to be used, to be snatched up and morphed into changing desires. the future is something unknown, something every-changing, something that, to quote my mother, "you just never know."

and so this is my challenge: to stop using the future.

to embrace whatever my future may be.

jesus, jesus - noah gundersen

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

whenever I need to hear something, this song.

I'll be honest and tell you I am not religious. I do not know what I believe. karma is probably the closest thing to explain my spiritual logic. but to sum it up, my father's quote: "I feel closest to God when I'm hiking."

alone in the forest, he says. when the trees are covering the sky and you feel so small.

or in my case, sprinting through the woods, down the forest hills, feeling excited and nervous as I gain momentum and my feet could slip at any moment and there's fresh air engulfing me and --

that is my spirit.

and when I think about my spirit, I pause, and I think about the world around me.

so, this song, this song.

five things my father has taught me

Friday, April 11, 2014

happy friday, my friends. this week has been filled with endless school work and whenever I catch my breath I am self-reflecting. on today's ferry ride, in between research paper paragraphs, I took a breath and thought. I thought about how I've been changing to be more similar to my father in some ways. and thus was born the following: 

five things my father has taught me

1. walk when you can, for as far as you can.
    walk outside. a walk will make you feel better. a walk will clear your head. don't let the rain stop you.

2. be patient with everyone, even if you are frustrated. 
    in my young adolescence, my father was so patient that he talked with and comforted one of my old friends, when I refused to see that friend. at the time, I was so angry with my father, but he was so right. be patient with emotions and feelings and actions. of your own emotions, of others' emotions. things will work out. 
            (this one I’m still trying to learn)

3. being outside heals the inside.
    when I was a child and screaming my head off, my father would pick me up and take me outside and sit with me in the garden until I stopped crying. and then I would go back inside. lately, I have been finding such comfort in the natural world.  

4. “be nice to your nails”
     – a.k.a don’t self destruct in the face of anxiety. and I have stopped biting my nails (they're currently a brilliant, spring red).

5. continue to make jokes even if no one gets your sense of humor.  
    laughing at yourself, even if no one else is laughing, is still fun.

always reflecting. always changing. 

thanks, dad. 


Sunday, April 6, 2014

I'm not sure how to begin this. I wrote a few sentences, all something along the lines of "a break from my busy life was necessary," but none of them seemed to capture what I'm feeling right now. 


this weekend brought understanding. 

a break from the city, from reading articles off of my laptop, from straining my eyes over syllabi and emails. 

there's something about the quiet in the forest. I fell asleep in front of a fireplace, seeing the little light of the flames jump outside my eyelids. and it was silent. I woke slowly, the sound of geese and running water outside the window. natural light flooding the room. 

being outside, I smiled. 

and at first, it was hard - but then, then I felt like olivia again. olivia that turns everything into a song. olivia that meets new people and acts ridiculous but always smiles. that goofy olivia, the original olivia. the one that attempts to match excitement and curiosity with that of the children. the one that starts talking again, speaking when she needs to speak, laughing when she needs to laugh. playing soccer barefoot - dear lord, I hadn't done that in a long time. the sun came out, and I ran barefoot through the forest. through the mud and then the sand and then to the field. and it felt better. 

and so I start this week with a deeper understanding of me. of the open air life I crave so desperately. 

(and here is the song that we played while cleaning at camp, my theme song of the weekend. it will possibly forever remind me of these last two days of self reflection)

on children

Thursday, April 3, 2014

"children are brutally honest."

that is what my professor said, when asked why she chose to work with children.

the young ones, they have nothing to be dishonest about. they should have no reason to fret.

they have no fear in giving compliments, and compliments they sure give. in my case, "miss olivia, I like…" your hair (that they love to play with) and your nail polish and your ring (oh, someone new discovers my ring every time I work) and your skirt and your shirt and your jacket ("I have elbow patches on one of my jackets, too!") and your shoes ("are those ballet shoes?") and you - especially you.

they love you when you roll out of bed and your hair is a mess and your clothes have dirt. they love when your clothes have dirt, because it means you were probably playing outside with them. they love you when it's raining, even if they wish it was sunny outside. they love you even if the classroom is messy and even if you're sick. children will tell you they like something about you, that they love you, when you are looking or feeling your worst.

as my almost-three-year-old niece would say,
"I like that."

They ask you honest questions. On tuesday, a child squinted at me for a moment, and then slowly asked:
"why do you always eat yogurt when you come here?"
to which I responded, "yogurt is one of my favorite foods, it is good for you and has lots of protein."
he stared at me for a moment and then said,
"I like it too but I haven't had it in a while because my mom never asks me if I want it so she doesn't buy it!"

there is a boldness to children. a bold curiosity that I want to embody.

I feel that we lose that boldness as we get older - we lose our organic, curious selves, worried about what others will think if we are outwardly kind or too inquisitive.

and so when working with children, I attempt to take on their curiosity. I ask questions,
"why do you think you have cherry blossom petals stuck in your hair?"
and I tell them boldly
"I love the necklace you made for your mom. that is such a nice idea. she will really appreciate that you made something for her."
"oh, I love the Harry Potter scar that your sister drew on your forehead!"

give honest compliments. ask questions. don't be afraid.

be bold.

april 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

white, skinny, ankle jeans with simple tshirts (and adding a blazer because why not)- a minimalist spring / easter eggs dyed with natural plants / thinking about graduation and moving, even if it's still a full year away / too much gossip girl and books of people that live in new york have me dreaming/ "send that love into the world and let it fill you up" -megfee